NaPoWriMo Poem #11
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asks to write a poem based on the concept of the language of flowers. Using the glossary of flower meanings to either make use of these existing meanings or make up my own. This poem about how the meaning and order behind flowers and their arrangements could be used as a code for spies and assassins who talk using sign-language in the shadows.
My contact was waiting in the dark alley behind the church,
and looked me over suspiciously as I approached.
There was a long pause of silence,
then she opened her coat to reveal three flowers.
I needed to pay attention, the arrangement was important.
She showed me the first flower — Love-in-a-Mist,
Perplexity — a flower of Europe and Northern Africa.
This was the code for the region.
It had been plucked with only sharp, violet petals showing on one side, speaking volumes.
I showed her my hand with fingers bent,
then moved them forward in a circle against my head,
She then revealed the second flower — White Lily,
Purity and Modesty — the official flower of The City in Italy.
This was the code for the location.
Its elegant white petals save for one unfolded like a swans neck.
I pointed my index and middle fingers out on each hand,
like little finger guns I clicked them together.
She nodded again.
When she handed me the third flower — Dandelion,
The Rustic Oracle — The clock flower believed to tell time.
The was the code for the target.
The thin yellow array exploded like a morning sun.
With both thumbs up, I put one hand on my chest,
the other hand going out and back towards my face.
She held the tiny lion’s mane up to my face.
I was confused, how was this not a Dandelion?
I pointed to my forehead then made claws with my hands,
circling one over the other as if I was holding an invisible ball.
She put the Dandelion in my hand then made a fist with one hand,
and pushed it towards a pointing index finger on the other.
You’re a Fool.
I must be.
Her movements showed frustration as she extended two fingers out,
almost poking me with both fingers then pointing at the flower again.
Closer inspection of little lemon-herb showed me differences,
and saw that I had missed subtle elements of a very special flower — Coltsfoot, Justice shall be done — A family emblem of Tussilago.
I was a fool.
The cluster in the center like a neutron blaze was the giveaway.
Pushing my fist to my forehead I popped up my index finger,
I now knew what message she was giving me.
She suddenly smiled.
She took the Coltsfoot and returned it to inside her coat,
then crossed hands and moved two fingers like scissors in a circle.
This time, I did the nodding.
She was my real flower — Night-blooming Cereus, Transsient beauty — the short lived mistress that bloomed in my life but once a year.
She smiled and floated away into the shadows,
I moved away to prepare myself to re-enter the Garden of War.
As I walked through the cold night I pulled a new flower from my pocket — Snapdragon, Presumption — my calling card.
The was my code for manner of death.
The pink bells wiggled as their little mouths snapped open from squeezed little throats.
This would be the flower that Count Tussilago would soon find
like all my other Snapdragons, arranged in my dark Garden of War.