The Broken Tulip – a poem by Deborah Leipziger

The Broken Tulip

For decades, no one knew
what caused the flaring
the feathering of tulips,
Parrot like,
Red on orange
Peppermint red on white
Black on tangerine —
The eruption into flame
for broken tulips like
Absalom and Mabel

What causes tulips to “break”?
The mosaic virus
carried by aphids
infects bulbs
and the flower breaks
its hold on one color,
the primary color suppressed
and lighter colors bleeding through

the beauty of a curse


Deborah Leipziger is an author, poet, and professor. Her chapbook, Flower Map, was published by Finishing Line Press (2013).  In 2014, her poem “Written on Skin” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Born in Brazil, Ms. Leipziger is the author of several books on human rights and sustainability. She advises companies around the world on social and environmental issues. Her poems have been published in Salamander, Voices Israel, POESY, Wilderness House Review, Ibbetson Street, and the Muddy River Poetry Review. She is the founding co-editor of Soul-Lit.

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