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Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 29, 2017)

It was named after the ship’s Admiral,
Louis Antoine de Bougainville,
and it usually crawls along the porch frames
or borderlines the windows of bedrooms,
transforming dingy frame bungalows
like a mistletoe of summer.
Angelenos pronounce it almost Spanish-like
without the lovely trill of Ls.
And this morning we look up
where it came from
and hear this story
about the first European
who found it on exploration in 1769,  
2oo hundred years before Woodstock.
A botanist, who was also a woman,
snuck aboard a ship disguised as a man,
flowing through the drab spaces and corridors
where women weren’t allowed.
The galley, the botany, the discovery.
Jeanne Barē, the first woman
at the circumstance
of bougainvillea,
the first one
to circumnavigate,
to circumvent
the world.
Napowrimo 2017: This is the penultimate poem! I’m exhausted! Pick a noun from one of your favorite poems (I picked “Seranade” by Billy Collins) and write a poem around it.
Mary McCray
Written by
Mary McCray
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