To learn the word in every language
For saffron, to know without thinking
How it sounds in French, Kiswahili,
Cantonese, Creole; what shape
My thumb must take in the sign
And the shadow animal it makes
Against the wall. Saffron.
I will start there.
You want to understand the immortality
Of the crocodile, a negligible senescence,
200 million years. There isn’t a way
For me to know what a crocodile calls
Saffron, 60 million years they waited
For the first flower, 60 million years
To decide the name. I remember
When your cheeks were fat and jaundiced,
As if you’d rubbed them in a field’s worth
Of buttercup pistils. Neither of us
Will recall these resolutions next year,
Not without this poem, but a gharial
Remembers the first violet crocus.
Daisy Bassen is a practicing psychiatrist and poet. She has been published in Oberon, The Sow’s Ear, AMWA Literary Review, The Opiate, SUSAN|The Journal, Arcturus and Adelaide Literary Review and has several pending publications. She lives in Rhode Island with my husband and children.