Violet Iris by Denton Loving

Why are you always the first to flower? Did the gods
send you to blaze the trail for others
to follow?
+=————-==—===++ Twenty thousand years ago—longer—

it was your color men sought,
grinding manganese and hematite powder
          with a dab of animal fat
to capture wild cattle on cave walls.

Even before we drew our dreams in stone,
          you budded and bloomed, unfurled
soft daggers of falling petals before your yellow,
white and rusted sisters.

+=————-==—===++Now, I beg you.
Linger. Take off your shoes. Some tulips
and the last few daffodils are still laid up
in their beds, lazing away the spring
while you become violet bruise of memory.

Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection Crimes Against Birds (Main Street Rag, 2015) and editor of Seeking Its Own Level, an anthology of writings about water (MotesBooks, 2014). Follow him on twitter: @DentonLoving.