Charlotte Hughes

          after Jericho Brown

We thought owning a garden hoe meant

we had reclaimed the word, that two hours spent

learning how to double-sock a man

in the solar plexus meant the dusky streets

embraced us. Larkspur, Lily of the Valley,

Lilac. That year, walls of smog covered

the city and choked all the flowers.

It seeped under the doors at the party where

a boy glanced at our bouquet of pastel skirts &

tube tops bought with crumpled bills greased

quarters, picked the shortest & shiniest one

& in the corner gave the rest of us one shot each

so we would keep smiling. Oleander, Hydrangea,

Daffodil. Too late. There’s root rot chafing under

my tube top & already the vodka tastes like

ammonia & phosphorus. But look at this

sisterhood. Isn’t it all you wanted in a poem & more?


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