FB (1944 / Columbia, Missouri)


I worry about the chicory, that tinge of pink in the blue, its sunset delicacy, even with its tough
stalk. Those ragged, blunt petal-tips.
Like my high school Pep Club skirt, pleats
sharp as knives, but someone could easily get
under it. The road here is crooked, cars fly by
at 45 or 50. I worry about how few walkers
there are, how alone nature is, out there
sprouting and budding and dying. Can the utterly
unnoticed survive? What about the farthest
reaches of the universe, the other solar systems?
There's a lot that doesn't seem to need us,
but the negative space around the flower
is what shapes the flower, so the neglect
of such a powerful mind as ours must collapse
its bloom at least a little. So much reciprocity
necessary to exist: we actually exchange DNA
with those we catch diseases from. The germs
travel to our lymph nodes, carrying a bit
of our infector: we become our enemies!
The quality of our existence is that delicate,
which is why I ran from room to room, comforting
my mother, stacking up my father's mess,
wiping my poor brother's drool. No, that's not
right. I was only holding them all in my mind
to keep them from flying apart. How tired I was,
my little body a strung bow. How small
I'd keep things, little flowers by the roadside, if I could. I would think of them day and night.

by Fleda Brown

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