A week ago, their buds held tight:

points poked from shells,

their skin greener than a kiwi’s,

softer than an almond’s.

The magnolias tapered to a point:

a crab’s pincers, a wet paintbrush –

but the sun soon bloomed them

to artichokes and then to torches,

their fire so intense the petals

drooped, hung, and waited

for a fall that would leave them

to wilt and brown, be smeared

into the cement. They twin dead

locusts now – wings rotting

brown and wet but more fragrant

than what remains on the branches –

globes spreading, exploding: a display

of abandonment that suits the season.