I have never seen silky beach pea before today.
Or, I have, but didn’t care enough
to stop and name the colors — violet, white,
olive, to press finger to petal,
to see its fine hairs
like the hairs on the back of my hand,
my cheeks, and listen to Brian tell me
that hair is hair, and we are all related.
Then I saw more —
its shaky footing on the sand,
the encroaching ice plants and horned sea rockets,
the tidal waves of footprints,
the sickle of wind mowing them low to the earth.
At five-foot, six-inches, I stand, low,
but I’m no extended metaphor for this beauty,
only an allusion to a time long ago
when our lines crossed,
where we intersected
in some genetic game of pickup sticks
and unstranded into man and plant,
each a molecule of the other.
Today, this beach pea teaches me how to walk
among these living hearts beating in tongues of color
to a music
that returns me to myself,
by Paul Totah