This is the swing my father built,
hanging from the branches of a willow,
as familiar as his arms once were.
I have busied my hands with the language
of flowers, speaking in the accent
of easily snapped stalks. Here, a hydrangea:
for heartlessness. See how its petals dissipate
when shaken. Their blue is not the blue
of the nearby creek, or even the sky,
but something I recognize from inside.
Here in my hands, too, is a wood anemone:
forsaken, mourning with cat’s-eye yellow pollen.
I have crushed a poinsettia to my breast,
December’s flower, Christ’s blood,
the petals heavy as vellum,
one of which has caught in my dress
and hangs like a bib. My cry mutes itself
in sprouts of cyclamen and white ivy-sprigs:
a formula for my place in the narrative,
where I must exit. I hold the dried white roses.
In a moment, I will give them life again.
Issue 12, 2020, pg. 40