What We Call It
Updated: Jul 24, 2019
Where the road crosses Peavine Creek, a different vine
wreathes the railing with small white flowers,
Confederate jasmine—not jasmine at all
though the flowers smell sweet and soapy,
and Confederate only in its aversion to cold.
I stop on the bridge to bury my face in its blossoms.
They have other names we could use, since this one
conjures so much suffering: Chinese ivy, angelwing,
windmill, pinwheel, shining jasmine. In Uzbekistan,
the name is trader’s compass: they say the flowers
will point a trader toward the road he needs, but only
if he is of good character. That might be the name
to choose, reminder that those who break the ancient laws
of hospitality, and those who cast insults like stones,
will be lost. Here there are clearly marked roads to follow
with small white flowers blooming along the way,
leading us forward with their fragrance on cloudy nights
when the stars below do not reflect the stars above.
As published in Gyroscope Review - Audible link.