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Anthology of Louisiana Literature

Julie Kane.
"Spider Lilies."


(ALSO CALLED “NAKED LADIES” IN NORTH LOUISIANA, BECAUSE THEY PRODUCE NO LEAVES UNTIL AFTER THEIR FLOWERS HAVE BLOOMED AND WITHERED.)

 

 

After the first rain

in October, they spring up

in straight rows around

 

houses and grave plots;

something in their DNA

craves a human-drawn

 

line to follow, like

grade-school children writing their

names on a ruled page.

 

 

Up close, too, they look

more like kids’ toys than like real

flowers: red plastic

 

pinwheels fastened to

green wooden sticks, with not one

wan leaf among them;

 

 

and in their centers,

where you’d expect to find sex-

ual organs and

 

sticky gold pollen,

is only nothingness, like

the crotch of a doll.

 

Yet when I go to

the poor Creole church at Isle

Brevelle this time of

 

autumn for their fair,

it’s not the store-bought aster

nor the rich man’s rose

 

that I find tucked in

the plaster folds of Mary’s

dress with a child’s hope.

 

 

Notes

  1. Creole church at Isle Breville. Saint Augustine Catholic Church at Melrose in Natchitoches Parish, LA.

 

Source

Kane, Julie. Rhythm & Booze: Poems by Julie Kane. Urbana: University of Illinois Pr., 2003. <http:// www. amazon. com/ Rhythm- Booze- National- Poetry- Series/dp/ 0252071409/>.

Selected books by Julie Kane:


Body and Soul (1987)

Rhythm & Booze: Poems by Julie Kane(2003)
Winner in the 2002 National Poetry Series
Finalist for the 2005 Poet's Prize

Jazz Funeral (2009)
Winner of the 2009 Donald Justice Poetry Prize

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Anthology of Louisiana Literature