Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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There are thus flowers which accompany us throughout life, changing a little in nature
as the poems change.
—Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie

The first bluebonnets that spring were accidental,
found some afternoon while biking the back roads

of Roanoke. The three weeks that followed: blossom
of displacement, trying home anywhere it might fit.

There should have been more time before their bloom,
and I should not have been there as witness,

but time melted on, withstood the increasing heat
of a coming summer as wildflowers began to sprout

along the asphalt of highways. I’d like to think this
is how the untamed offers itself to the surface,

but even these shoulders: configured by human hands.

In the months that followed, my dog lay splayed
on an operating table, and I trusted a stranger

with steady hands to reach in, to remove the mass
pressing against the soft tissue of his liver.

Imagine being skyborne,

looking down at land shot through with veins and vessels,
paper-thin petals of red and blue:

Indian paintbrush, wild indigo, a circulatory system.

At the first sight of bluebonnets, I abandoned my bicycle
and dropped to my knees in still-green grass, fearful

of the damage that could result from fingertips’ touch.

But tonight, I cradle my dog’s gray muzzle in my lap
and think back to our first spring and the walks we took

through dense patches of Texas wildflowers. I learned
losing sight of him meant that the field was thriving.  

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