Orange Lily

‘Your garden is pathetic,’ she said.

‘Let me buy some flowers to fill the spaces

where the weeds used to be.’

Off she went to the garden centre

returning armed and dangerous.

She lobbed the first grenade across the flowerbed.

Pow! A lily exploded from the crater.

Pow! Another. Pow! A third.

Of course, we couldn’t tell

what colours they would be

so, after she’d returned to Belfast,

regular reports were requested.

‘Are they blooming yet?’ ‘Not yet’

till, one day, I could see

a triangle of orange. Bloody hell!

Of all the colours, first was Orange Lily

though, growing not in native soil,

she had left off

her customary attire. Dress and hat

umbrella, even knickers

the Union Flag, dancing in July

belligerent and bold in Belfast streets

before the grand parade. If only

she could know her namesake danced

in Fenian soil, she would have died

of shame and bile, as this one has

now less offensive flowers are in bloom.

First published in Reach




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