A Botanist’s Study

Photo by Ryla Tuazon/ THE FLAME

Indian clock vines hang freely 

from steel bars

as I walk along

the stone pavement 

of a botanical garden.


From spring to autumn,

the vines depart from

their slumber.

I must study them

and quench curiosity.


I do not regret 

the strain in my neck

as I stretch its bones

and muscles upward

to witness their presence.


They are small in size

and clustered together

from above.

I no longer see stems

and sepals and buds,

but a constellation 

of stars gazing at me.

They are pendants

of Mother Nature herself.


In a split second,

my heart ached

and my trance became 

a manifestation of fear.

But why is it

that their flowers

seem to depict otherwise?


They are sabertooths.

The petals are to its mouth,

unlatched wide as if growling

and yearning to devour.

The anthers are to its fangs,

elongated as if boasting 

its fortitude and announcing

authority among all.


A flower to be feared

at first sight rather than 

be looked at in awe—

a first of its kind.


Though such similarities exist,

I must not ignore 

the outer petals bathed

in the sun’s color—

bright enough to

suppress the darkest

of thoughts in one’s heart.


I stand corrected

for if the sun symbolizes 

life and vitality itself 

then the vines must do so as well.

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