(3/22/2021 Boulder, Colorado)

I.  My spring flowers
            this year
  Are for a grave
            not a grave
A fence surrounding
            a grocery store
Not a grocery store
            a crime scene
Not a crime scene
            ten crime scenes
A rapid-fire
            of crime scenes
In the check-out line
            not a line
A scream
            a twisting fall


II.  They are tulips
            young and red
And everyone I try to
            talk to talks about
Guns and angry men
            and the dust is still
In the air
            like ash from
A volcano
            and they want to cast
Laws and I do too but

            but today’s tears
Will become their own bullets
            by tomorrow
If I don’t open
            my own lips
And wail


III.  They are red
            and young
And I’m planning to hang them
            as if they’ve done something
Wrong - leave them to
            shrivel on a cyclone
Fence as though these deaths
            will be a little less painful
As we watch something
            else die - already
Cut from their source

I wrap their green
            open stems in
Paper towel and water and plastic

            thank them
Plead with them
            to be brave
To hold strong

They have a lot of
            work to do


(Colorado Author’s League Winner 2022)