The Tulip-Flame by Chloe Honum


“The Tulip-Flame” by Chloe Honum


My sister’s painting this: a hill, a lane
that winds around the hill, and a wide field
of tulips with a centered tulip-flame.

She rolls her brush through gray and adds the rain
in tiny flicks, glinting arrows of cold.
My sister’s painting this: a hill, a lane.

Last year our mother died, as was her plan.
It’s simpler to imagine something could
have intervened. The centered tulip-flame

startles the scene; the surrounding ones are plain
pastels, while this one’s lit with a crimson fold.
My sister’s painting this: a hill, a lane

of cobblestones, a watery terrain
of dripping flowers. Her strokes, elsewhere controlled,
flare out and fray around the tulip-flame

as if it were an accident, a stain,
a blaze in the midpoint of a wet field.
My sister’s painting this: a hill, a lane,
a tulip field, and one astounding flame.



Share your response to this work, in any form, here



Chloe Honum’s Artist Statement: Chloe Honum’s first book of poems, The Tulip-Flame (Cleveland State University Press, 2014), was named a finalist for the 2015 PEN Center USA Literary Award and winner of Foreword Review’s 2014 Book of the Year Award. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Agni, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, Then Winter, was published by Bull City Press in 2017. Chloe was born in Santa Monica, California, and raised in Auckland, New Zealand.

Author: A Room of Her Own

Share This Post On