with their bright white eyes.  Flowers
at the center of several vivid bracts.  Nervy
as roses, daring you to pluck them
barehanded and be stung

by hooked thorns.  They pierce
like a good poem, vibrant

colors luring you.  The vines climb
voraciously, avoid attempts to keep them

trim.  They followed me to Morocco
and Spain, appearing on a roof

terrace overlooking the ruins of a house
in Marrakech, in a cool Andalucían courtyard.  Even

in Granada's Alhambra.  Patterns on its walls
resemble Arabic and at times morph

into language, the whole structure supported
by decorative bands.  We ran into bougainvillea

in Portugal, creeping up Lisbon's St. Jorge's tower, planting
itself in myriad patios, twisting around pillars

in Sintra's Pena Palace.  And at home,
bougainvillea waited for us, magenta blazing

on the redwood trellis Michael built, a tunnel
we pass through each time we return home.



- Lily Iona MacKenzie