Poppies, Seen in a Field

Blood flows out of these eyes,
blooming with yolk, the irises black.
Why do these hellish mouths open to me?
As if to scream death. Red skirts round
a waist of death. Do not weep your
heroin tears for me. Already I am
sick with the milk-white sap of life. In a
field of chrysanthemums and violets your words
are poison. The cornflower sky breathes in
your fumes. Are you not ashamed?
Close your mouths. Don’t sit there
gaping like fresh wounds.

Madrigal

The body is possible in spring
No need to coop up inside oneself like a Russian doll
No need to pleat the skin, no need to bury oneself
under the earth, no need to rush headlong out of
winds and chills, into rooms where people babble
and pass infection

The tulip stems are an umbilical cord, rooting
me to the great mother. Red to deep brown,
the blood rooted in the body of us all

The optimist in me is reborn in ether
and shades of unblemished blue

Deliver me into this becoming –
into this earth, into this awakening

I want to be reborn from a dust storm of pollen
April my renaissance, my rebirth and resurrection

A column of pure fire, I will wade into a field
of amaranth, bearing armfuls of sunshine,
my hair unbound

Along the vale, crocuses are opening
I am ready to bear fruit

alstroemerias

My mother preferred alstroemeria to lily.
When I would ask her to buy lilies she would return,
a bag of groceries in one arm, alstroemerias in
the other. She did not understand what I had
against alstroemeria. She would put them in a vase
on my dresser. Week after week, I watched them die.
They died quickly, curling up at the edges, crackling
like crêpe paper. They were weak and they were
not lilies. When my mother died there were no flowers,
only ashes. That day I went to the market and bought
alstroemerias, armfuls of them. I planted them
about the house.

Chrysanthemums in Snow

Everyone thought they’d die
by the time December rolled around,

when the chill hit
and Mrs. B removed her wind chimes
and the birds all flew South

We knew they were precocious,
wiser than their years
and ahead of their time,
and we were glad for them

But still –
Everyone thought it was a miracle
to see their bright pink heads
poking out in open revolt

Sunday Near the Window

A certain tilt of the light
evokes your hand in mine.
The 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon recollection
blooms within me like tea in water.
That amber color – it jars me.
Takes root somewhere deep and unseen.

Memory creates your face
in the wood grain patterns of floors
and worn furniture. I think of the white wisps
of tangerine segments, halfway to my mouth,
juice running down the side of my forearm,
sticky in the summer humidity.

Your cloying sweetness in my mouth
attaches and salivates. I remember your
slender wrists. You liked flowers.

I think of you when I walk past the old café
and see yesterday’s roses rotting in today’s dumpster.
The red cries out to me. Hurts my heart somewhere
deep and unseen. Jars me.

I walk on.

In my mind I sip oranges.
I peel tea.
I evoke; I was awoken.