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.

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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