Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. He is working on a bestiary.
Elephant Ear Plant
Landed here, maladroitly tended,
whatever is needed will come to you
in measured draughts, infusions of screened light.
Limits disguised by lush retorts,
like impromptus on a child’s piano
variations on a furtive pattern
unfurl expressions of submerged intent.
Drawn to brilliance by intuitive feel,
sustained by a pittance from heaven,
in the comic plot’s implausible design
progressions of decay will fuel ascendance
with transient routine blessings
as veined, archaic leaves array
in tiers of palms outstretched for holding
passing doles of unseen bounty.
Breezes only whisper nonsense,
while the nearby productive fields ignore
this fruitless abandonment to fantasy,
your fashionable display of solitude;
but if you’re ridiculous, you’re not alone
in an off-handed tutelage by the sun.