What April Proscribes

To pick a tulip from the garden, the red one. To put it on the desk
In the small blue vase, here. No,

To incline toward it then, as if the flower could teach me something
Of its art.        Of my own art.
When did we forget we were knit by waves,

Not mind? Fomented in dirt, brazenly
We rose from all fours and, from the wrenching losses of dusk,
Conjugated our lullabies.

To hear the red of the tulip searing air. And understand color,
Then, as a way to parse
The shy boson. The corals, dying. The man with burning eyes

Who came up to me on the street today, asking for change. Anything,
Miss, he said, then leaned in, conspiratorial.
Just to get through.

Copyright © 2019 Clare Rossini. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter & Spring 2019. Used with permission of the author.