No Visitors

Someone has brought flowers.
Flowers, moreover, that I like.
Those violet irises that look
like nothing else, whose strength is exposure;
Gerbera daisies with their lurid,
hippie spirit; the perfect breasts of peonies;
red mini-mountain plumed celosia.
The question Who, as I slept,
brought them doesn’t, however,
engage me as much as something part
reflection, part memory:
in childhood I expected presents,
which dulled the thrill of getting them, increased
the grief and rage of not.
Now I don’t expect them.

Somehow the flowers inspire me
to get up, leave, walk, however inappropriately
dressed. Somewhere to the right,
beyond trees lie the palaces
of president and parliament. They have,
despite their vivid barriers and snipers,
the stuffy look of places where
no tears may enter. This rule is ensured,
enforced, by the glass towers
surrounding them, which own the land. Within,
no doubt, some ungroomed ape
swings from a ceiling; food passes
from beak to beak; a fearful chittering little
mammal boasts till other animals
would laugh, if animals could laugh.

But today no sirens, demonstrations,
or gunfire mar
the quiet. Ruined, the palaces
look noble, the bare steel grids around them almost
poignant. Houses constructed
from other houses gaze out on fields;
farmers accustomed to madmen wave.
I wonder if, when exhaustion comes,
kindness will be man’s final tactic;
but instead of investigating, enter
the woods that have uprooted streets and walls.
And savor flickering forest light,
the unexpected
eyes of beasts that will not eat me,
and knots of wildflowers, loveliest unseen.

 

 

Image Credits: R. Crap Mariner

Frederick Pollack

Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press), and a collection, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press). Another collection, LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT, to be published in 2018 by Smokestack Books (UK). Many other poems in print and online journals. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

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