The Floral Code by Susie Gharib

He distrusted utterance because he stammered at school
and lame words had made him the object of ridicule,
so he took up painting and started to compile
a language whose figures typified flowers.

The only person who patiently accepted his flaws
and reiterated his words with a reassuring voice
stood by him to witness the birth of a code
aesthetically borrowed from the floral world.

He kept in his pocket the pile of cards,
which he would lay on the table like a tarot pack,
conveying his meanings via fingers and eyes.

Exasperated at his reluctance to talk,
his grandfather apprenticed him in his cemetery work,
since gardening was an occupation that silence enjoined.

And when Diana became a very fine lass,
he placed a lily-card on the newly-mown grass,
and next to it a ring that was made of glass.

No one understood what made her become his bride,
the dumb fellow who resided in a graveyard,
tending the very same flowers whose pictures decorated his mind.

She could not explain to people whose chatter got on her nerves
that eloquence is not only an affair of the tongue, 
but a skill that eyes and fingers equally possess.

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