In a flowerbed of white
and purple tulips
one maverick flames
orange and gold.
A sport–a rebel?

Perhaps just
the grower’s hands
in a hurry to pack up
the bulbs for shipment.

As a child, I aspired
to be a prodigy–
to dance or write, paint
or play the piano
so brilliantly
the world would gaze on me
with wonder.

I practiced hard
but the world
went right on spinning.
Good, but never good enough,
never Mozart
or even his gifted sister.

Then, the summer I turned
thirteen, I suddenly
grew five inches. Became
too tall, too old, to be
that wunderkind.

Mid-May now–and see:
the tulips are all fading–
the flame-colored one too:
no more special now
than the others.