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Jennifer Barber-III

The Dozen White Irises



Parchment-colored with fine lines,

they age instead of opening.


The one bud that tried to bloom


stopped halfway, a yellow stripe

where the anther left a trace.


The others pucker like fingertips.


They whisper among themselves,

This is all we get, our throats


won’t grow translucent in this light,


the white flame we might have raised

is only an inward wintering.