on a line from Amy Leach’s “Things That Are”
I have never made a flower,
never have I pressed myself
through dirt, me as root,
as roots, many-tendrilled,
never have I been root,
nor have I pressed myself up
through air, straight and diligent,
nor have I sent out from myself,
from my core, an upward thrust,
tender shoot and shoot
that burst into leaves, never
have I been stem nor leaf,
never have I made a blossom, heady
color as of zinnia, tender leaf
as of gardenia, fur as of geranium,
I have never made a flower, having
no root, no stem, no leaves,
though I can imagine the standing
still, though these are words,
though this is enough, these words
I offer to you, you who have
perhaps made a flower.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 2.
We took turns tossing your ashes with a cup—
purple violets, a spring flower, hardy, despite
seeming frail—though I reached in to touch your ash.
Our bodies were cool in the May breeze, swallows
swept insects before them, cars trundled across
the bridge upriver from where we stood on sand.
After we let your ashes go, a few of us stayed
to listen to The Moldau on a boombox, the sound
frail in the outdoors. Years before, you and our father
left us with a babysitter and drove to the river,
to be alone, to fish and drink, to argue, probably,
although perhaps that was something you only did
in public. And you turned on the engine of the car
so that you could listen to music, public radio,
and the two of you undressed and lay down
in the music and touched one another and wept,
because you wept at music no matter how tender
or how bold, and The Moldau was both, hunters
chasing a fox and nymphs bathing by moonlight
in the river’s flowing waters, pale and steady,
the music swirling and unspooling,
so we listened to Smetana as your ashes flowed
and our father, who was with us, was
with you, in that summer when mosquitoes
weren’t too bad, and the river rippled and spun
in the moonlight, and touching you was sweet
and slow and muddy and enough.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.
Cider Press Review’s inaugural web issue, CPR Volume 14, Issue 1, is now online. Read new work by Aran Donovan, Mercedes Lawry, Daye Phillippo, Janet Barry, Athena Kildegaard, Luke Whisnant, Tim Suermondt, James Cox, Wendy Drexler, Jin Cordaro, Ronda Broatch, Julia Esacove, Stan Sanvel Rubin, Cory McClellan, René Char, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Wendy Taylor Carlisle, Sharon Olson, Jennifer Finstrom, Sandra Stone, Laura J. Martin, Doug Ramspeck, and Sara Dailey. Read the issue online today; download a Kindle version from Amazon next week.