“The Gauze of Flowers, A Love Poem” by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Remember when we couldn’t name it
because it was a meadow
wild with tulips, both bright
as snow and dull as fire?
Driving in circles to find
the right spot for our love, then
using a chair? My heart was still
an artichoke, layered and prickly
But you kept making me nest my face
in that one thick bouquet.

And just this morning my love
was briefly stuck in my throat
as I remember all the soil
and sadness, remembered seeing you
on certain streets and corners, remembered
all the rubble and clang. Remember

how it is and isn’t fragile?
How it speaks in ears and fingers
takes days and hours still
it wants nothing and it wants more?

And just this morning
the flowers you brought home drank
in the sunrise, they fleshed themselves out
the way people do, shaking
the cold from their collars
as they move toward the fire,
rubbing together their hands, kindling
it back. Some days

we want our love to be fleshy.
But some days it’s transparent.
It’s like gauze.
It is and isn’t fragile.

I dare you to name it.
I dare you to remember
the rubble and clang.

— Olena Kalytiak Davis, “The Gauze of Flowers, A Love Poem”, in
And Her Soul Out of Nothing (The University of Wisconsin Press, 1997)

 

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“The Flowers” by Regina Spektor
“Things I have loved, I’m allowed to keep . . .”