I Sell Cheap Flowers By The Roadside

David O’Meara is the author of four collections of poetry. His most recent book is A Pretty Sight (Coach House Books, 2013).


I’m still. That’s how it feels.
I wait all winter for the animal to die,
raise its chin, look
into time. I
lack sun and Lord Tequila. I wonder
where good comes. Here in my head
I’m a herd of one, and rage, slosh unease like brine.


Mid-life, I waver at the sink
amidst a hacking cough, and hurt, the more the cure
recedes. I was on the bottom
of the upswing. I wanted boost. I set the pails
for use and kept a long flow.
But I have meant to climb, had wanted
every passerby to slow and pause
and be a mirror.


Sometimes nature’s wrong. Look at the runt I saved!
Look how each selection
is because of love. Ground down, look
how the gravel becomes a beach.
What did I choose?

I tend the meadow, take
pains like everyone,

play the numbers against the grief.


I huff the ducts of burning dust, and dream
a hot gulf.
I’m home, low-ceilinged. I too
would grow an avocado, my wooden core
a seed.


In its defence, the year’s sprawl
is skulked by any piece of news.

I walk blocks, side-
step a young couple unloading needs
for the newborn, with ginger steps,
still surprised,
like drunks inside an earthquake.
Tacking left,

I clutch a bundle of spirit
and breath.


The river was easy. The cold, no.
It’s how we lied
that we kept things safe.

I raise the animal on creaky limbs
and nudge the water bowl.
I post the notes, I check
the links, new forecasts, catalogues and results
and think it best to think far less
about those things.

And rummage the vintage shops for tin.


Portrait by Julia Dickens
How To Be A Woman
Lorrie Moore as the mother you never had.


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