As seen in Permafrost

Thistle Seed and Bloom

1.

The bulls are gone from the meadow now.

I came to the poppy field to leave with both hands

full. Beyond, our beach is full of phantoms.

I was certain I would find you here, feasting

on the poppies, placing one in your lapel.

 

Bull bones spread beneath the dirt like roots.

Each time a bull dies, its bones sink into the earth,

ribs and vertebrae like shovel spades digging down.

I hope your cartilage is gone by now, that your bones

knock and rattle. The skull

smiles most when the skin is gone.

 

2.

Our gray beach needs this color; the blush of cold,

of seeds that must rest and churn before they flourish.

I am that way too. My heart is a thistle;

it is more seed than fruit or flower.

Pry off the watch fused

to the underside of my wrist—

the reddening, spilling.

 

3.

A pair of horns erupts from the ground, but

doesn’t belong to you. I pull out my compass.

Not for navigation— I have my maps. But for

the soothing way the needle rocks

and yet is still in a sea of negative space,

white noise. The reflections of poppies in the glass.

The dashes, lines, constellations never stop moving.