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  • Mahatma Gandhi
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
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Poem of the Day
  • Poem of the Day: The semantics of flowers on Memorial Day
    Historians will tell you my uncle
    wouldn't have called it World War II
    or the Great War plus One or Tombstone

    over My Head. All of this language
    came later. He and his buddies
    knew it as get my ass outta here

    or fucking trench foot and of course
    sex please now. Petunias are an apology
    for ignorance, my confidence

    that saying high-density bombing
    or chunks of brain in cold coffee
    even suggests the athleticism

    of his flinch or how casually
    he picked the pieces out.
    Geraniums symbolize the secrets

    life kept from him, the wonder
    of variable-speed drill and how
    the sky would have changed had he lived

    to shout it’s a girl. My hands
    enter dirt easily, a premonition.
    I sit back on my uncle’s stomach

    exactly like I never did, he was
    a picture to me, was my father
    looking across a field at wheat

    laying down to wind. For a while,
    Tyrants’ War and War of World Freedom
    and Anti-Nazi War skirmished

    for linguistic domination. If
    my uncle called it anything
    but too many holes in too many bodies

    no flower can say. I plant marigolds
    because they came cheap and who knows
    what the earth’s in the mood to eat.

    “The semantics of flowers on Memorial Day” from Insomnia Diary by Bob Hicok © 2004. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

    Source: Insomnia Diary(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004)

    Bob Hicok

    More poems by this author


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