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Wendy Taylor CarlisleListen


Rare and Commonplace Flowers

Where we ran wild
there are two
scars from the same
damned accident.  The air
grows wide.  The weeds
move with lily
and rose, hollyhock,
show the glim of
that white torso
you take to first
when you wake
alive with dreams
you will later pack
underground, with
the feathers, the Rottweiler,
the best-seller,
that bone.  The past
is a sump, a hollow
really, a pot half-turned.
As for the tulip
isn’t it just
a void of sorts?
Without a real god,
only your earrings
stand guard
and in the end
there’s nothing
left to do
but lift
the garbage out
and burn
the burlap sack.



Still. My palms sweat like tea glasses on the wicker table brought out

with the stories of lost uncles on Labor Day when no one here mentions

the four boys who beat that man up and left him to die in the bleached heat.

What talk there is—of basketball and trucks, a word or two about the war—

comes down to gratitude that Skip came back alive.

The only snake in the August garden, that unspoken question, How is she?

She’s dying, thank you, but not fast enough to save her posture, her teeth,

her eye for fashion, her sarcasm.  I don’t add I miss them.

Never ask—can someone tell me how to lose the one they loved and hated

to love? How it felt to hold her chilly paw with their wet fingers?

What they said to strangers bringing food and flowers in the stillness after.


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