Today's poem is by Juddith Skillman

Dead-Heading the Flowers

Hold the stem of this flower
fringed in webbing and brocade.
Flick off its head.
A simple gesture, another way
to dismiss the world.

September and no school clothes to buy,
no supplies. In other nests
lies the past,
its stiletto legs folded.
Clear away what's gone to seed—

the month, the hour,
mature trees tiny as black peas
snug in their pods.
Do this to time—
a single moment, the one we call present.
Take the whisper, snap, clickity-clack
of trains, of tongues, come from
Scotch broom welded to the heat
near the old missile silo.

If there is a war, bloody
your forefinger and thumb
where the two digits meet
at the base of an ancient blossom.
Dahlia, azalea, miniature rose.

Now dig in your nails,
ruin your manicure.
Note how black spot
creeps along the espalier.
How the pansies bear their burdensome blooms.

Copyright © 2007 Juddith Skillman All rights reserved
from Pebble Lake Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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