Others divided closets full of mother’s things.
From the earth, I took her poppies.
I wanted those fandango folds
of red and black chiffon she doted on,
loving the wild and Moorish music of them,
coating her tongue with the thin skin
of their crimson petals.
Snapping her fingers, flamenco dancer,
she’d mock the clack of castanets
in answer to their gypsy cadence.
She would crouch toward the flounce of flowers,
twirl, stamp her foot, then kick it out
as if to lift the ruffles, scarlet
along the hemline of her yard.
And so, I dug up, soil and all,
the thistle-toothed and gray-green clumps
of leaves, the testicle seedpods and hairy stems
both out of season, to transplant them in my less-exotic garden. There, they bloom
her blood’s abandon, year after year,
roots holding, their poppy heads nodding
a carefree, opium-ecstatic, possibly forever sleep.
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