Blossom by Kwame Dawes

The tourists fear the teeming hordes.

In the gloom they can hear the earth
breathing. It sounds like
a multitude so tired of running,

so tired of talking, so tired
of protesting, the fingers blistered
from the burning of the offending

thing; their bodies so worn
out from marching, with just
enough left in them to make

the slow march back home
with the mountain’s long
shadows leading them along

the path; or to make one last
leap, sprint, howl into
the horror—in the gloom it is

possible to hear the gap
between thought and thought-
lessness, between memory

and forgetting, between mercy
and mindlessness. The tourists
do not want their hearts to thrum

in their throats, but like all
who fall prey to the throng,
they are seduced by the fat

nocturnal bloom of a flower:
off-white, almost golden cream,
smiling handsomely at them,

and they risk all to seek it out,
to pluck it, to pretend as if
it will last beyond the journey

and continue to glow
back in their dull grey-steel world.