Two Poems by Jeremy Griffin

Pink Hibiscus

You buried the hibiscus
in the swath of untended earth
where each summer morning
the mangy calico
who suns itself on the sidewalk
shits and then kicks it over
with sand as if it’s even possible
to disguise what we leave
behind. You aerated the crumbled earth
with the shovel blade, churned it
over on itself like the tracks of dead
skin carved by a lover’s fingernails,
That’s how you make it
breathe you said, face dirt-streaked, hands
on hips, superhero-style, and I
wanted to palm the sweat from
your forehead, lick my hand,
wrist to knuckle, skin to tongue, consume
you droplet by droplet, just
like the hibiscus, pink as
a newborn, syphoning moisture
from the ground that is now
the place it has always belonged,
becoming something new time
and again: itself, only better.

 

A History of What Comes Next

Two inches closer and
it would have clipped
me, the two-tone Mustang

blaring music like small arms
fire, all pop and treble and
the plastic epiphanies of youth,

while boys with inscrutable tattoos
brayed loudly enough to rouse
the eyes of barely-dressed women

on the sidewalk who
knew better than to know
better. I’ve never believed

in the age of wisdom, never felt
growth as so many axis
points, more a performance of cells,

the friendly fire of neurons. Tell me
our bellies were never full
of stars, subletting the diaphragm,

tell me we intend whatever
we invent: the aspirations
of fools, the faultlines

of genius: who
am I to think there is
something better to receive?

 

 

***

Jeremy Griffin is the author of a collection of short fiction titled A Last Resort for Desperate People, from Stephen F. Austin University Press (2012). His work has appeared in such journals as the Greensboro Review and Mid-American Review.

Image: clipart-library.com

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