The Sunset and the Purple-Flowered Tree
I talk to a screen who assures me everything is fine.
I am not broken. I am not depressed. I am simply
in touch with the material conditions of my life. It is
the end of the world, and it’s fine. People laugh
about this, self-soothing engines sputtering
through a nosedive. Not me. I’ve gone and lost my
sense of humor when I need it most. This is why I
speak smoke into a scene. I dance against language
and abandon verse halfway through, like a broken-
throated singer. I wander around the front yard,
pathless as a little ant at the tip of a curled-up
cactus. Birds flit in and out of shining branches.
A garden blooms large in my throat. Color and life
conspire against my idea of the world. I have to
laugh until I am crying, make an ocean to land
upon in this sea of flames. Here I am.
Another late-winter afternoon,
the sunset and the purple-flowered tree
trying their best to keep me alive.
Copyright © 2022 by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 11, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.