Black Flowers

I have been to the prairie, seen the trees' palsied branchings, downward-gropings, felt the savage sunshine snatch our shadows, baking bald grounds cracked as ancient faces, seen sweet primrose peek from gramma grass and sagebrush, and in the fields both far and near, beheld black flowers on pale white stalks you said were yellow yucca corpses, but which, to me, were perfect tulips,
dark as sin, and as enchanting.

I've seen the fields' long faces yawning under a n infinite sky, the once-fecund
fruit trees with their puny offerings. and felt other spoilings, like that  inside of you, a shattering like the crumbling buildings' windows, cracked as fragile promises, yes, corroded as with you, but for your traipsing me through thirsty fields laid bare, like naked women awaiting lovers to shower them with blooms of any color, or blanket them with killing quilts of snow.

The sad gazebo, trellises severed and blown, scraggly vines adoring the stubborn
frame, I have seen all with you, our eyes' admitting disparate ghosts, yet in many ways the same, –  have sensed land on land in the bleariness of your eyes, in the hunching of your shoulders beneath a tattered robe, quivered at the outdoors  that roughs us, the dust that fills, the wind that whispers through our shells of desolations meted and the ones we've left behind.

I have groped through lily and copper mallow with you whose once gay hair
hangs limp and gray, have touched the dimples that now crease your cheek,
as you pass, a phantom, the desiccated creek, and through rubble of amputated limbs, have marched plain on plain whipped stoically by gusts in that terrifying terrain, as the tulips blackly list beneath a heaven void of cloud – have seen you stroll the steppe like a shroud among bones of sheep lost to coyote and coyote to thirst.

Like you I drum the days until the fissures and plains come to claim us
and we sprawl at last like huge black flowers, with parched and puckered lips
when winter its freezing manna frees, aching for springs we've lived to dream,
and dreamed to die, and died to see.