Gas flames, those dahlias, those and all the crane-
and heron-colored flowers blooming on the hill.
This house, within the plaster rooms, must be the afterworld
where the living have been put away. Because I could not breathe
the fragrant air, I almost died last year one day
among the flowers' perfumed wreaths. Now I go
from room to room dusting the pleated vase;
I look beyond the window's well-cleaned panes.
And I believe this is the afterworld, feeling
the green of my first want for you
as you kneel in the garden below, planting
the verbena, so fondly I cannot stand it.
"Flowers" first appeared in TriQuarterly, (1990)