Algerian Iris by Michael G. Cornelius

the wild flower

of my native land

grows in parch desert

plains and is

watered by salty

vapor and the tears

of men who,

like me,

love unwisely



its leaves are purple-


the color of

a blush, or

the first stint

of longing in an

unfailing youth


in its center,

it bears a cross

of yellow and



the first to stand

for faith

for timidity

and the harsh bloom

of unveiling light


the second, for spilt blood;

for death


and when he touches me

his hand the soft stroke of a petal

I understand how such rare blooms

can flourish

in the driest of conditions




Michael G. Cornelius is the author/editor of fourteen books and has published poetry and short fiction in numerous anthologies, magazines, and journals. He teaches in the English Department at Wilson College.