Finding a Flower Pressed Between Pages of an 1887 Edition of The Early Poems of John Greenleaf Whittier

There is no point in wondering who put it here,
or why, although such wandering
might make some pressing poetry.

There is no message here, no mystery in this flower
for curiosity to open up or code to break.
Judging from the size and shape, it is perhaps a lily.

There is no color anymore.
A lily. Perfect if it is a lily.
Perfect if it is a lily in a book of verse.

Some sentimentalist put a lily in this book,
in the poem "The Bridal of Pennacook."
Perhaps it was a little girl.

But no. It must have been a bride.
A bride must have put this lily here.
A bride left this lily here, and what is left of her

is less than this, and what is known of her
is only this: This part of the paper,
this part of the poem, this once a flower,

once a lily, this lily's ghost, this dry and brittle, at most
like a dry brown leaf in The Early Poems of Greenleaf,
this more impressive than "The Bridal of Pennacook."

- Joel Solonche