I live in Detroit
She said I live in Detroit. And there are no flowers in Detroit.
So why would anyone in Detroit write about flowers in Detroit.
I donít tell her we live under the trees. Root up curbs and dam fire hydrants
to water black pansies licked to the sides of popped black balloons in Detroit.
Iím smashed with the fish under Eastern Market. When the flower vendors
douse the cement, Iím the pollen blown off backs of butterflies in Detroit.
Like a lot of flowers, I have split my stem. Cleaved into root balls. Stuck to sweaty
bus windows. Like so much dandelion, I get rinsed down shelter shower drains in Detroit.
There are plenty of violets in flophouses. Pistols broken open
on forty-ounce mouth lids making honeybees bastards in Detroit.
I donít tell her look around you. I donít point out the bottoms of coffee cups
where the city spits iris and scratches the back of your throat in Detroit.
I tell her: some of our mothers rescued begonias with cheap plastic planters.
Some of them braided pine into sheets, so we could never sleep again in Detroit.
I wonder if it counts if I wish for frangipani. When I dream in ten spikes of passionflower
to cuff inside my elbow. If I canít leave. Is that enough flower grounded in Detroit.
francine j. harris
is a Cave Canem fellow and has work appearing
or forthcoming in McSweeney
's "Poets Picking Poets", Ninth Letter,
Drunken Boat, Ploughshares
and in the recent anthology, To Be Left With the Body.
She is Writer-in-Residence at a local high school in her hometown Detroit.