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The Name of a Flower

M. E. Csamer
From:   Light is what we live in. Artful Codger Press, 2005.


1.

We were clustered under the bridge
in our Saturday morning clubhouse
(leaf roof, squirrels for sentries)
with blankets, apples, the meeting
just coming to order when he appeared,
greasy black coat, straggles of hair.
Stares. Silence. Something in the gut running
because the legs couldn't. Him all seethe and noiselessness
and the hands and what they held. The eyes blank,
as if he wasn't there. But he was there.

It's that, in one moment, with one action
he took away what had been ours,
No explanation, no application. Just came
and took it away as if his need was greater.
We told no one. Never spoke of it among ourselves.
Abandoned our place as if a committee had been struck
to dissolve association.

*

How do I move in the world as if it belongs to me?
I almost said, move into, because I'm still on the edge
but I don't know what edge, and what the shape is –
a flat earth? saw blade teeth? He came and took away
what was ours. Peripheral, marginal man
but he took possession and neither he
nor we questioned his right.

Something in the gut running
because the legs couldn't.

2.

The city fights for space, for air.
A deadly virus turns away the casual
to other destinations. Desperate, tourism calls
the homebound out
with cheap gas, concerts:
“come together, breathe the air.”

Rather say: take back the air
as other times we take back the streets
with late night walks of women, children
fearless men.

It's that, in one moment, with one action
SARS took away what had been ours.
No explanation, no application. Just came
and took it away as if its need was greater.

Something in the gut running
because the legs couldn't.

3.

On Pikes Peak, Edwin James discovered what would later
become Colorado's state flower. Cassie Bern. On Arbor Day
1891, students voted for that state flower. Corey DePooter.
Out of 22,316 votes, Rocky Mountain Columbine
received 14,472. Kelly Fleming. Second place went
to the Cactus, with 1,027 votes. Matthew Ketcher. Yet
in 1899, the Women's Club of Cripple Creek discovered
Daniel Mauser that the Columbine had never been legally adopted.
The legislature corrected that mistake Daniel Dohrbough and in
1925, made it the duty Rachel Scott of all citizens to protect
this rare species John Tomlin from needless destruction or waste.

In 1964, there was an attempt to replace Isaiah Shoeis
the Columbine with the Carnation but the Daughters of
Colorado Lauren Townsend rallied behind the Columbine
asking: “What about the state song Kyle Velasquez ‘Where the
Columbine Grows?” David Saunders, teacher.

How do we move in the world as if it belongs to us?
Move from the border where they left us without money
or papers, not be frame but picture, know no limits,
be edgeless, never marginal but crucial?

It's that, in one moment, the core is gone
skeleton sucked out the mouth; one moment,
one action – clubhouse, air
the name of a flower.

Spectre of the self, that's all,
something left to carry on
Hiroshima grandfather outlined on a wall
silhouette only

but he was there.

4.

From the Columbine Remembered website:

“Kelly Fleming was writing her life story
on her home computer. She started it
at the very beginning, when her mother's
water broke and she came into the world.
She had gotten to age 5.”



M.E. Csamer's works copyright © to the author.


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