Poppies in the garden, your garden,
Impossible to keep alive – the seeds scattered
and rotting, the plant once green-leaved, now brown,
then blackened stub.
Coveting their thin, tissue-paper ways,
their sway, their wink of center. Standing there, desirous,
fingering their petals. Sad girl.
Mother said the doctor who saved
my life was named Poppy.
Salvaged the growing nub,
that which wished to let go. Stick.
We’ll make her stick, he said. And did.
So that what came after
took longer while I lay quiet, bruise blossoming.
Girls are always compared to flowers. Was I?
he sent me that poem about the green tree
and the wolf, randy – what was found inside – and I thought, yes, that. Not the rose
nor the lily, clutch of bridal bouquet.
But, poppies. Perhaps.
The crumpled bud and then flare
and then flattening, giving over to wind.
The seed and the pollen of the oriental, blue, so blue.
Kelly R. Samuels lives and works as an adjunct English instructor in the upper Midwest. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net, and appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including apt, Burningword, The Summerset Review, Kestrel, and The Carolina Quarterly.