The first time 
my tree peony bloomed,
the petals ballet pink,
an all ruffle tu-tu–
it was as big as a truck hub cap,
hanging from the side of an old farmer’s barn.

I honestly don’t know
that I will ever be that awestruck 
again. I wanted to kneel down
before it, sing out:
Amen Amen Amen.

The second day
a horizon of flat clouds
spread a tablecloth
then, knocked over
a half full pitcher of water on it.

The third day 
it drizzled all day long.

The fourth day
the rain marched
all over the boxwoods, the azaleas,
and the tree peony–who looked up 
and said OK that’s enough!   

So, next to that giant peony,
I rigged up a bright blue and white golfer’s umbrella,
tied it to a shepherd’s hook with an old braided clothes line.
Saved that first and only blossom from
drifting its petals like 1000 tearful tongues.

I swear I heard tree peony say
thank you thank you thank you, 
broadcasting from its saffron yellow center.