Black Orchid

There are no black flowers,
only the darkest shades
                                       of purple or red.
We look at flowers as a way to know
where we are.
In the orchid garden, winter
never arrives. Gardeners work quietly
to remove traces of dirt
and decay. The messes
of mortality remain hidden. But a secret
seeps back in.

Teow Lim Goh is the author of Islanders (Conundrum Press, 2016), a volume of poems on the history of Chinese exclusion at the Angel Island Immigration Station. Her work has been featured in Tin House, Catapult, PBS NewsHour, Colorado Public Radio, and The New Yorker. She lives in Denver.