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Wild Iris
by Diane Westergaard

    near the John Day Fossil Beds

At one time I believed
that if I Iooked deep and long
into melting snow the color
of angels would answer.
But this flower's bluish center tells me
I may have been looking in the wrong place.

The color of ice, they rise
from this cloud-green sedge,
notes out of the spaces
in a very old song.
Cold green arms sway like grass
inviting milagros that will heal me
of certain kinds of love.

They bloom, indifferent to the layers
between their rhizomes
and Eocene grasslands
that have not seen the sun
for forty million years.
Nearby, an appaloosa rubs its jaw
along the dorsal stripe
of a buckskin. In a few weeks,
by this hour of the day, they
will be twitching at flies;
and these angel-colored flowers
will have melted to endure sun
and the hooves of grazing horses.


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