The petals were phone-number tags
of an ad for a roommate
on the bulletin board in the department’s hallway.
The petals were between yes and no,
the tags were bangs,
bumper stickers, sticky labels,
for runways during wars.
Everyone loves a winner. I will be loved by a few.
They will be forgotten as I will be forgotten.
The petals belong to my people who like any other people
are incapable of
or capable of given time
the great provider.
I sketch horror like children draw stick figures.
I distill the body in mass graves: sticks and bones
may break my heart of stone
but a heart of stone pays no mind, a heart of water has let the
According to the testimonies
the trees were leafing
the birds had transferred for a better education.
The petals were corpses that made a bridge,
corpses that turned a river
red, a river ink.
The petals had names:
ordinary citizen period,
silent and silenced,
the tree next door
the tree that palms
a scoop from the river,
whales we guide
to suicide, a willow
sounding the barrier
when will the madness end?
I asked the petals but they were between yes and no.
The children headed there
between yes and no and did the asking themselves.
The petals answered or kept to themselves.
The petals spoke only to bees and such.
It spoke to us, the children clarified, through bees and such.
And what did the bees and such hear?
We did not have their ears, the children replied
and added that there were also ants around.
The ants told the worms
to tell the birds to bounce back.
The petals were grackles in a football field on a middle school
morning. The fog told the grackles
the worms were looking for roommates.
The petals ate the worms.
The tags wore
big toes in rows
of yes and rows of no.
The petals kept my toes warm.