Photograph of an amaryllis plant by Virginia photographer John Kinney.


By Connie Wanek

A flower needs to be this size

to conceal the winter window,

and this color, the red

of a Fiat with the top down,

to impress us, dull as we've grown.

Months ago the gigantic onion of a bulb

half above the soil

stuck out its green tongue

and slowly, day by day,

the flower itself entered our world,

closed, like hands that captured a moth,

then open, as eyes open,

and the amaryllis, seeing us,

was somehow undiscouraged.

It stands before us now

as we eat our soup;

you pour a little of your drinking water

into its saucer, and a few crumbs

of fragrant earth fall

onto the tabletop.

*Poem reprinted with permission by the author. Originally published in "Bonfire," New Rivers Press, 1997.

Picture of an amaryllis plant by John Kinney.


I saw a young snake glide
Out of the mottled shade
And hang, limp on a stone:
A thin mouth, and a tongue
Stayed, in the still air.

It turned; it drew away;
Its shadow bent in half;
It quickened and was gone

I felt my slow blood warm.
I longed to be that thing.
The pure, sensuous form.

And I may be, some time.

Theodore Roethke 

Photograph of snakes in Thailand by Virginia photographer John Kinney.


Artistic sketch of a skeleton of a snake in black and white.
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