- Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
after a painting by John Singer Sargent
is not the first paintingI was afraid of.That distinction belongsto Hieronymus Bosch,a melon round head leeringwith a pumpkin's grin.The body of a lion marriedto the feet of a crow.
It is Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rosethat frightens me still.Others take comfort in the innocenceof the mirrored girls in white, ruffled collars.Those lanterns are not to be trusted;the orange glow in their belliesa beacon to the other side.
You can tell me how foolish I am.It won't be the first time,but who's to say the white liliesare not omens of death, the one girla ghost of the other? [End Page 115]
Carol V. Davis is the recipient of the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry from Truman State University Press. Her book Into the Arms of Pushkin will be published this fall. She is the author of two chapbooks, Letters from Prague and The Violin Teacher. She has twice been a Fulbright scholar in Russia, where her full-length collection, It's Time to Talk About . . . was published in a bilingual edition.