Jewelweed

When ripe, the seed pods burst open at the slightest touch

How does one color the lion?

Orange, light brown, deep yellow seem so close, 

but not right. Saffron, wheat, mustard

all fall short. And no one

calls anything jewelweed.

Poking through grasses, its gem never pearls,

only seed, like an honesty taken for granted.

I covet that kind of honesty from you.

I don't eat oysters.

How can I last like this, censoring

every golden idea, while you try to create names

for every tawny object?

Your artist's temperament, detailing eye,

experience with color, shape,

every secret, each word.

Like the lion. We color it differently,

an argument that lasted days;

not an argument, really--your easel and paints

gave you the upper hand. 

Orange? you responded, shocked.

I dropped it. Here in the weeds,

sitting on the lake shore, I pop open

jewelweed, the color of sun,

stars, lemons, butter--any hue I choose.

                                                                                                                  first published in Pinyon

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