The orchid is the sister 
of the moon. 
She is a soft clap 
of manicured hands. 
She is the opening. 

Her petals are tiny thighs 
hiding a sweet lie. 
She is a charade, 
quick and severe. 

Where are your lost ones? 
Those whose colors you 
absorbed and abandoned, 
whose tendrils are powdered 
like a geisha's face, 
intoxicant, and set. 

I wait for your perfume 
in your white and pale cream eye, 
in your sky of gods, 
in your secret, scented ledger. 

How superb you are 
with delicate arms 
of no green, 
like drained blood. 

You are the tap 
of a courtesan's fan, 
your firm skin 
is fearless. 

The last empress of China 
ate orchids 
to make herself mad. 

from Steaming 
(c) 1993, Black Tie Press