Still Life with Sunflowers
When I cut elastic from the sunflowers,
the stems, girdle-less now, spread
against the glass-lipped vase, each bloom
lolling like a tourist on a cruise.
You fed me blueberries from a colander,
and I looked over your shoulder at the still life
with nothing still about it—a sprawl of calyx
and corolla, pistils waving, rings of stamens
straining toward the ceiling so close
to a sky full of bees.
When the pollen fell, it dusted the room
with a stain that yellowed the counter.
I never could get that color out,
though I’d easily kissed all the blue
from your fingers.
In Can't Get a Word In Edgewise, the bottom head is doing all the talking. The silent head on top is beginning to see red.
Say a phrase over and over and its meaning sloughs off.
Sounds collide, saturating you. You go still beneath your skin.
The girl whispered my Dad died, and there was nothing
to breathe in the cabin.
She pulled her treasures from her bag--a string of magician's scarves.
The red carnation appeared, a bent and wilted thing, thumbed
with effort to make memory last.
We mended the dangling flowerhead with gum and nail polish
knowing the fix would finish it for good.
When she left, she held her funereal flower tight.
Never mind how the petals littered the ground
like the opposite of confetti.
Cheryl's Pub News: My review of Steve Mueske's luminous book, A Mnemonic for Desire is up at Alsop Review.
I have four poems forthcoming in Frigg and one (inspired by one of Janet's drawings) in the fall Carnelian.