Ingrid Loves White Orchids
by Wilda Morris
Not the purple ones. No, not since her class studied Hamlet.
Purple orchids remind Ingrid of Ophelia, tired of being led on
by the prince, finally aware she’d been used, and Hamlet thwarted
by her death. Ingrid envisions purple orchids falling from Ophelia’s hand
as she slipped into the pool. No, she does not like the purples.
Ingrid does not believe the legends of the ancients, how eating
orchid tubers could determine gender of an expected infant—
as if orchids distort biology or heaven’s plan,
whichever it is determines that. She even doubts orchids
could be aphrodisiacs though she regards them as romantic.
Ingrid dozes off in the garden one spring afternoon,
dreams that Solomon, in golden crown and robes of royal blue,
paces a palace corridor carrying white orchids in his jeweled hands,
searching for the queen who will return home to Sheba
to bear his son and there make him a king still revered in Ethiopia.
On the twenty-second of September, Ingrid prays to the saint
whose name she bears, asking only that her life not be contorted,
that she always be open-hearted, begging that everyday saints
be rewarded. She sleeps. She awakens from a dream
of saintly Ingrid, finds in her fingers a bouquet of pure white orchids.