Ikebana

—for Jessamyn

Foliage should dominate,
stems never cross or obscure
the line poking heaven, all flowers odd
in number, humble,
without thorns, no hothouse roses,
none of those bright, showboating fires
from hotel lobbies feigning eternal spring;
we edit the material, cutting away the extraneous
flowers with ruthless intent,
crush stems onto bronze pins,
strip leaves and branches and even
buds about to open, seeking only the space
adjacent to the wire-wound sprig, the emptiness
that opens inside the paren of a single blade of grass—
it is like the sound between stanzas,
or after music has been pared away
to its rest, or stars pruned to just enough to reveal
the darkness that holds us all—
it is like your brush, as you left it, vined with your hair,
your bed made of rivers and mountains—
Oh my sweetness, my darling, my dandelion,
everything is like this,
everything leans into the great abyss:
even the mirror that you left on the wall
for a shelf of lonely dolls to talk to.

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