day 17: poppy




The car goes slowly down the freeway.

I think we are talking, some of us,

about who is still here and who is not.


I am thinking about the old man at the tire store.

How old are you? he said. You look maybe 16.

He asked me if I had been to the river.

He used to pan for gold.


The car misses its exit.

I am suddenly in the place we used to live.

You would bike home through the trees

even when it was raining.


I am home too late again.

You are already asleep

and I think probably angry.


I put a poppy in a jar.

I put the jar on the kitchen table.

I think, does Katie love poppies or peonies?

I think, what is the difference?


This flower is orange and limp. It does not smell like a flower.

It smells like a shovel blade in the too shallow earth.

It smells like licking dirt off of iron.

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