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CALLA LILY / Diane Wakoski Dry earth, its crust granular, cracker crumbs on the sheets, bare patches of it where grass will not grow yet a world where dry sticks flower, the golden branch to be held in any gardener's hand; the secrets old poor houses yield, whispers in the dark, the closet where laylowformeddlers was hidden, the back porch with the scorched wall where a trash fire ignited while I slept the living room shut off from children's sleeping alcove with a faded cotton curtain where my mother met a man whom I called Santa Claus one Christmas eve, and outside, the spider-covered corner of the house where a calla lily white as dead hands bloomed perfectly; its duck-bill yellow stamen as thick as my 6-year old finger was covered with white cornmeal-like dust. It was a flower for old women, but the only secret I myself had in that old shack of secrets; my mother who was no Leda with her prematurely white hair made her life a mystery. One which contained blood, ashes, and the rose of sex. The Missouri Review · 13 My childhood secret was the calla lily, an elderly, funereal flower which smelled like the clean faded under garments in my grandmother, aunts, and old mother's dresser drawers. 14 · The Missouri Review Diane Wakoski ...


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pp. 13-14
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