Daisy Chain

Before I am lost 
hell must open like a red rose
for the dead to pass. 

You ask me what                                                                                The horns
my flowers said —                                                                                                  were
then they were                                 flowers blooming behind him, dark flowers,
disobedient — I gave                                                                                                       mud
them messages —                                  on the lip of
                                                            each bell

Past is past, and if one                                                  I think I grow tensions
remembers what one meant                                        like flowers
to do and never did, is                                                   in a wood where
not to have thought to do                                             nobody goes
enough? Like that gather-
ing of one of each I                                                        Each wound is perfect
planned, to gather one                                                  encloses itself in a tiny
of each kind of clover,                                                   imperceptible blossom,
daisy, paintbrush that                                                   making pain.
grew in that field                                                         
the cabin stood in and                                                   Pain is flower like that one,
study them one afternoon                                            like this one,
before they wilted. Past                                                 like that one,
is past. I salute                                                                like this one.
that various field. 

Daisy Pearl

More than a woman’s name. Her traditional shape. Rapidly
spread and rubbed with a wedge. Straight drunk with a crooked
lick. A brief suck on time. Diminutive. Promptly popular still
on the border. As one version of stamina went. A great show of
suffering in order to arouse. There were sweet ones. Frozen
ones and fruity ones. Her little resemblance to the original.
Shake her one key part. Control her ice. Shake her poor stem.
Her rim rubbed. Slice juice and pour control out with dusty salt.
Or to taste if desired.

Poems beginning at the top counterclockwise are by H.D., Emily Dickinson, James Schuyler, Harryette Mullen, Robert Creeley, and Nathaniel Mackey. Compiled by Jeanne Heuving.