Sturdy stalks emanate among
Ascending to five feet,
Dwarfing surrounding plants
Spires topped with tubular florets
Blazing, ombre torches of
Reddish-orange, coral, and canary blooms
Torch lilies, red hot poker plants, Kniphofia
Usher butterflies, bees, hummingbirds
To their safe harbor and delectable nectar
A flower bed’s ostentatious focal point
Dominating from spring to fall
By Suzanne Cottrell
A mysterious plant appeared in one of our raised flower beds, perhaps a seed gift delivered by a bird. Calling upon my father’s gardening knowledge, I learned that it was a Kniphofia, better known as a torch lily or red hot poker plant. It continues to be the show stopper of our flower bed.
Suzanne Cottrell, an Ohio Buckeye by birth, lives with her husband and three rescue dogs in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys hiking, biking, gardening, and Pilates. She loves nature and its sensory stimuli and particularly enjoys writing and experimenting with poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in The Avocet, The Weekly Avocet, The Remembered Arts Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, The Skinny Poetry Journal, Three Line Poetry, Haiku Journal, Tanka Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Women’s Voices Anthology (These Fragile Lilacs Literary Journal), The Pop Machine (Inwood Indiana Press), and Nailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal.