Rhododendron blooms at the window,
lapping at the glass. Obscene tongues.
Their smattering of kisses in the wind,
a seasonal ache. Their leaf bobs—
the way they clasp and unclasp flowers
to mark memory and time. Rosettes,
fused mouths puckered into refusal.
Saying nothing. Breathing nothing
but their acidic earth. The loam of a place
unhospitable beneath the white pine
whose killing needles glint in shards
of dire necessity. And where flowers
bud and break, where the hummingbirds
careen, I am weary of this sharp order.
Oliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He has received grants from the NYFA and the Artist Trust and has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.
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