The Maynard
Spring 2014

Jason Primm

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

I came for peace, to slide
the abacus beads once more
over an old problem.
Below me, five long rows of roses
maintain their symmetry.
Alone in the simmer, I watch
a couple drunk on the frank
foreplay of flowers. The woman’s
dress drags through the grass
as they fall into each other
and down the row towards the white
gazebo and twin copper statues
spitting water in gentle arcs
above the lily pads. Her hair
wet where it lay against
the tattoo between her shoulders.
Foolish for me to forget (again)
the world goes mad on schedule.
Another man with a briefcase
endures this beauty. He pretends
not to see the flowers at his feet.
He staggers, his eyes on the line
of buildings that stand for horizon,
the body under his suit as humid
as the orchid house. What drove
him here and what business left
half done? The others move on
diagonals with the gleeful amnesia
of dragonflies.
                                I go down
to undo this myth of order
and see the circus of the barely
trained limbs lifting their fist-sized
blooms. I am sated with the first
and move to a second and a gluttonous
third. Like a tired lover picking up
a book, I look past the flowers
to the nameplates: Wise Portia,
Afterglow, Brass band, Permanent
Wave. Each name a poem, a final
decision. But what made a lover
honest enough to name a rose