Shame Ol’ Lady

Mimosa Pudica: St. Mary Parish, Jamaica


Never takes much,

a fingertip’s touch, or
             beak-brush of prey-
                          probing bird,


to trigger
             survival’s minutest
                          nerves: to elicit such


cringe, and colorless blush
             by which she
                          makes of herself


a sheltering purse
             of frills folding in
                          on its prickle-


downed seam, her
             prayer so thin
                          as to be silent, though seen.


Subequatorial native
             pantropical now,
                          how this country


does christen you:
             Shame Ol’ Lady.
                          Hereafter


the finical fronds
             reemerge, a fillet
                          of fine green tines:


and what slim heed
             take the reverent,
                          O Lady


as prayer
             makes its clasp
                          on this next hour only.


Read on . . .

Rundown,” a poem by Jerome Ellison Murphy




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