I used to know how to make a flower.
To push its tendrils deep into wet earth.
In those days what we ate was simpler.
It’s like that again when the windows grow dark
with a warm coat of brine and clouds
perch and purge their anxious stomach
over hills somehow pinched between great fingers
like dough. I used to know how to make
a hand-made variety, yet there is still a
tenderness like that gentle wet between
a horse’s teeth when you cup its mouth in
your palm. There is the familiar way to draw
a flower: a circle surrounded in curly loops alike the primitive
doilies. To listen like a paper maché ear
with wires sprinkling in and out is how we fared
when the honey-pear of paisley from bed sheets
bled and moss grew in the green soul
and shook itself from inside. A hog
lies here on its side— The sunlight,
asunder. One frangipani sets on a wooden
tableau. A fried fish plopped on a tray for us
with the sweet meat black water makes
in animals that move broadly in deep
ponds. The outdoor bake oven with its china
and plastic vessels unmatched.
The river in Iowa unfolds its antique diadem.
It seems always the old colors
are there on one side; the new
colors, buoyantly projecting onto the other. You
unpeel first the tart shell like orange
rinds and soft. There is a large family among us,
but not between us, exactly.
When we sit together to eat
on the green shores of a shrinking eternity
there is still a great tenderness, despite
some differences. I used to know how
to make a flower I say. There is a film if
you want to watch that might remind us of a past.
When we talk about making a painting, some say,
we also talk about making a new painting.