Thirteen Ways of Looking at Dead Flowers by Sylvia Berger

I would rather puncture my eyes with a trowel than look at your moldy face
I peer at you, and I am only reminded
How much I despise your highborn presence

Flesh peeling back from your fat and muscles
Cut onions
Unsharpened knives and
Forget-me-nots who cares

You only intimidate bachelors
Red roses of denial and
My cherished waste of executed commodities
I would never have gifted you scourings

Woe to some posing barren woman
Ode to Renaissances of Cali lilies and still-lifes
You’ve been revived for far too long for your recollection
Cherubs placing knife-edged
Thorns in your side just for drama’s sake

Romeo oh how you’ve fibbed
Giving putrid bouquets to fanciful goats
Looks, we can’t sinch any more than we already have
Let us divorce last century

Rotten will not mend as the
Rocking chair requires one nobleman to remedy
Noxious orchids rip at newborn flesh
Worthless and mostly penniless, why would that be considerable to
Your fortune?

What battles have you brunt and
What wars have you vanquished? The timeless tale of a Knight
Wounded comrades succumb with no honor, but you contain trifles
Offer your family your fortunes and glorious tales brined in hypocrisy

Standing tall, companionless, in rubbles and residue blanketed
Tarnished reputations brimmed with shameful tulips
Hiding away their carnation complexion from their verity colors
In a variety of hues

Poisonous brews contaminated with pollinated fermentation and
Homeless bees fumigated from their tribes
Kidnapped stems and slashed roots pride peace in righteousness
Cavalries send forces of nature to barricade walls you’ve brought up

Fields mapped in accordance with bylaws
Let’s say we’re pleased with the tandem of victories
White lines have torn down putrid poppies before
Who’s to wonder if they won’t do it again?

Peonies and fungi stare impassive into kindred lenses

Requesting distance from each other
Passionately uncomfortable with the stench of beauty
As partisan as wings are to a serpent

Released into the scowling Earth from a grief-stricken hand
You epitomize any occasion with your ugliness and yet
Widows find you admirable
Your exemplary performance is of garden-variety

Wedding blue bells dusted in filth
Sunflowers for indulgence and peonies for ecstasy
Bleeding hearts unearthed from ashes
Basking in the warmth of each other’s sun

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