The Brahma Kamal is a rare plant of India that blooms for only one night each year.

A dome of petals
like a street lamp.
her fringed globe,
traffic comes to a halt.
Only the high-pitched ping
of a monsoon frog
pierces the dark.

Alongside the Delhi runway
where flying birds dodge
the wings of planes,
egrets and peacocks, pacing,
barely acknowledge
the take-off of the Dreamliner jet:

while green grows the grass,
come what may.

First the straw, then the seed:
Dark soil hides the seed like buried pirate’s gold.
One day, the seedling stretches its neck to pop
through the tiny seedcoat. First the water,
then the light, draws the seedlings up through soil
like needle piercing canvas.

Among green and yellow stems,
wind and bee disperse the pollen.
Next, sun draws the grasses green
until her heat shades them yellow.
First the scythe, then the straw
to overwinter in the barn.

Vast clouds, a study in gray.
As wings gain altitude,
horizon’s halo of red
dwarfs storm clouds.

An hour later, as wings
approach the landing strip,
streets glow red
from reflected street lamps.

Fireworks in the dark
tumble like marbles
into a labyrinth
of tarmac and blacktop.

With nightfall, wings tip,
scooping air like sandhill cranes’
outstretched wings:
touchdown on the Chicago tarmac.


Although the cactus bud
is corseted,
still crawls the bee
through petals tightly curled.

Sheets on a washline:
yellow petals billow.

Let the pen
be a compass.

Strap the pen
to the moveable arm
that sweeps the page.

One arm of the compass
takes wing.
The other arm,
like a branch,
remains fixed.

Enclose eternity
in a circle.