1,284 Readings

Snipers in the Arrangement


Dumb cane: cause of the lost cat voice. The cry

will return as the poisonous plant
rinses free of your cat’s larynx. For the larynx

lost briefly in toxins is not a real box, not something
to hide in, not something to wrap, not even the status
of scent. On the cherry table—the ferment of neon kumquats
in rum. Chewed leaf

of the dieffenbachia, meaning for hours
your first cat in childhood will have
no way to call you.


An Easter lily’s a simmering thing. The priest won’t take them home

from the altar—released from their brass vase and green sponge
of artificial grass. Let thine tabby cat not vomit

stigmata for the lord’s flowers. White blossoms
as kidney strickeners, as god

centered. Flowers
as snipers in the arrangement.


Dried jimson seeds hang redbirds without bodies
in the pin oak canopy. Your cousin, whose face swells

from allergy and hallucination, will shoot
someone’s kneecap off

later at the dive. One more reason to move to Mexico.
Redbirds float like tomatoes

flung skyward by storm. The patch of creek-fed tomatoes
that knows what he’ll do.


Deadly cherry,
avocado, and almond. Deadly breadfruit,

elderberry, and lupine. The yew and the hemlock

and the weeping fig. The black cat crossing your path. To change your luck,
run backward.

Posted 02/22/09
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