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Flowers on Rock
by Phibby Venable

I reach the flattened height of the plateau
where natives say that only violets grow.
I climbed here through a honey comb I bought
from bees with bulging eyes and timid wants
They steadily extracted till their death
a sweetness at the price of shortened breath,
and never buzzed a word to call their own.

Still, with their strength I had the hope to climb
black boulders and appalling rocks of slime
I held a torch that grew too faint to touch
and so I left it lying by a ledge.
I used the moon to light my path instead.
I feared the bat's scream so I gave them room
to pass me from their habitats of gloom.
I ate wild berries and their acid taste
grew rancid but I would not loose my grasp.
Height was something I had always feared.
I was too vulnerable, could not go near
the edge of anything because I fell,
but that was something I kept to myself.
Now on this flat plateau I stop to look
for violets, and I find them in a bunch
so fragile that the wind shivers their stems
so lonely they must clone themselves for friends.
But still they cling together with one root
as all their thoughts grow weary and the same
ideas arise each day so that they plan
nothing new the other doesn't know.
It makes it pointless but they love to grow.
And I am glad of them, their velvet touch
the only thing I have on this blue stone
as I too fight the wind's hard baritone.


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