Peacocks and Peony
by Mary O’malley
Cleveland Museum of Art, Chinese late 14th century to early 15th century
Hanging Scroll ink and color on silk
Artist: Yin Hong Ming Court
It is spring, and large birds invade the walled
space with red and pink peonies.
Angelic white peonies burst forth from inside silk
from the death of worms spinning in trees.
Black willow branches droop
from the side.
Peahens allow peacocks to
boldly strut always
and forever demure.
I breathe in the bright colors
fall back into time
to the possibility of China
in dirt dug from my backyard.
The hole, never deep enough
for me to fall into,
the hole, my childhood failure,
the spring dream I failed to finish as a child.
Mary O’malley’s work has been published in literary zines for the last twelve years. She has a MFA and is the mother of five children. She also has a published play.