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An oyster-white lily,
inner walls of plaster,

the stoma lit like an orange candle,
the petals’ undersides

like the satin trim on lingerie,
or a corrugated fan.

White as a cloud cornice,
egg shell, whitish spiders

just visible on petal-skin
of nearly the same color—

the description untenable,
improbable to the eye,

the stillness never still, the lily
already in transition.

White polar fur, porcelain vase,
or that pair of hand-painted castanets—

and the pale moon, iridescent ardor,
fetus we once lost, snug in its grave.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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