5 November 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 3


The language of the daisy isn't dead

but one hundred seeds in a pack

are dormant in their dry dark, some

dirt and water all you'll need

to be their divinity. And mine, a kind

at least, shopping in the blue

light caterwaul of this store designed

not to hide a thing: overhead

ducts rattle cold air all over

and toilet paper in Carpathian heights

begs me to buy, to save,

to take comfort. I want these not-

flowers-yet, these yellow

pinwheel coronas that will live and die

and yearly come back. Look

at how they begin: if you never sow

them anywhere, if they grow

dust on the counter, all

to them is dreaming, is waiting, is want.

Is it the daisy we're meant

to divine whether or not

we're loved, tearing its life apart,

scattering petals? Keep

this alive, the fevered photo dares

while instructing us

on light, on water, on its name

in dead Latin. For no one to speak it

except precisely, except

by the sterile mouth of science,

it died, arrayed in the afterfont of italics.

And here on the dollar

I pay to the woman

that will never be you,

broken, her smile uprooted, torn apart,

are more dead words

which die more with the days. So

they go. But, look,

there is a garden

in these words. I have tended to them all.

And for you. Their faces

open, seeking sun.

About the author:

Paul Guest is the author of The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, winner of the 2002 New Issues Prize, and Notes for My Body Double, winner of the 2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His chapbook, Exit Interview, is available from New Michigan Press. Visit his blog.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Paul Guest at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 6, No. 3, where "Garden" ran on November 5, 2006. List other work with these same labels: poetry, love poem.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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