Tulips

(3/22/2021 Boulder, Colorado)

I. My spring flowers

        this year 

Are for a grave

        not a grave

A fence surrounding

        a grocery store

Not a grocery store

       a crime scene

Not a crime scene

       ten crime scenes

A rapid-fire

      of crime scenes

In the check-out line

      not a line

A scream

      a twisting fall

 

II. They are tulips

       young and red

And everyone I try to 

       talk to talks about

Guns and angry men

      and the dust is still

In the air

      like ash from

A volcano

      and they want to cast 

Laws and I do too but

      but today’s tears

Will become their own bullets

     by tomorrow 

If I don’t open

     my own lips

And wail

 

III. They are red

      and young

And I’m planning to hang them

      as if they’ve done something

Wrong – leave them to

      shrivel on a cyclone

Fence as though these deaths

       will be a little less painful

As we watch something 

       else die – already

Cut from their source

 

I wrap their green

       open stems in

Paper towel and water and plastic 

      thank them

Plead with them 

      to be brave

To hold strong

 

They have a lot of

      work to do 

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