Li-Young Lee


Secret Life

Alone with time, he waits for his parents to wake,
a boy growing old at the dining room table,

pressing into the pages of one of his father's big books
the flowers he picked all morning

in his mother's garden, magnolia, hibiscus,
azalea, peony, pear, tulip, iris;

reading in another book their names he knows,
and then the names from their secret lives;

lives alchemical, nautical, genital;
names unpronounceable fascicles of italic script;

secrets botanical
description could never trace: