beautiful pale orange roses
[ This image is in the public domain. ]

This Morning

Unsubtle spring undoes her blouse
again this morning, her reckless life,
spilling green down the front of her,
an inarguable truth if truth
were green everlasting.

My peonies jab their
rude, red spikes from
between stones.
The Just Joey rose
bristles all over with
greasy, dark leaves,
holding her breath,
gathering force.

How I hate her.

I brought you my
flowers in summer,
roses yellow, roses peach,
and peach-flower branches,
peonies striated in red and white peppermint.
We sat quietly while the dog snored,
watching the petals fall
onto the damask tablecloth,
coming to rest
coming to rest
coming to rest
the way time
does not.

The last time I kissed your brow,
it was cold from the refrigerator.
Goodbye, darling lad, I said, until soon.
I bought a tea-dress for the cremation,
of heavily-worked guipure vines
clinging and close and climbing,
the color of frozen ashes.
I threw it away after.

I was so frightened, Kay said
as we stood together at the viewing,
to see him this way. But it’s just his body,
just his body coming to rest. She said,

it’s nothing.

Into the fire it went, and she cried like everything.

I get so mad at the roses prospering here without you,
at the birds’ nests made fresh and sparkling with forgotten shrapnel,
with dog hair and diamonds, shining and shifting and giddy with hope.

Fuck you, birds, I think to myself.
Up yours, sky.

Inside, I look at the photographs you made
of children in Istanbul, laughing into you,
their eyes looking into your eyes,
into the double-lens of your lively mind.
I look into their merry faces
and right then
and there

I am you

laughing with them,
stealing their souls,
and I can tell you darling
that these moments
are sweet but
they are no

They are supermarket flowers.

I accept them politely,
as if it were nothing,
as if I were never
confronted by gardens
unlacing my ribs,
spilling the truth
down my front.

In the birdhouse we hung,
there’s a nest with an egg in it
blue and bright, a baby-fist world,
tight as a peony sugar tit swarming with ants,
as a fig from Izmir, chewy and sweet,
pulling the teeth from my own damn mouth.

Grief blows sideways
like the pale kiss
of snow.