Peonies

Poetry of the Times

All my poems can't be about medicine,
especially when I consider
a dozen peonies in a crystal vase.
Three have opened-one pure white
like the coat I wear at work, the second
red as marrow, and the third turned away,
blushing pink, as if embarrassed
by the naked beauty the others display.
Below the flowers, buds are balled up
and fringed with scarlet, ready to unpack
their petals and show off to July
like medical students who became doctors
one week ago, so fresh, so green.
I drain the warm gray water, pour in the new.
And to appreciate the fragrance of flowers
who don't show off their sweetness, I bury
my face deep inside their bodies,
the petals smooth and damp, like skin.