Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


picking flowers

Grandma’s rosebush
reminiscent of a Vice Lord’s do-rag.
the unfamiliar bloom in Mrs. Bradley’s yard
banging a Gangster Disciple style blue.
the dandelions all over the park putting on
Latin King gold like the Chicano cats
over east before they turn into a puff
of smoke like all us colored boys.

picking dandelions will ruin your hands,
turn their smell into a bitter cologne.

a man carries flowers for 3 reasons:

                       • he is in love
                       • he is in mourning
                       • he is a flower salesman

i’m on the express train passing stops
to a woman. maybe she’s home.
i have a bouquet in my hand,
laid on 1 of my arms like a shotgun.
the color is brilliant, a gang war
wrapped & cut diagonal at the stems.
i am not a flower salesman.
that is the only thing i know.

Credit


From Wild Hundreds. Copyright 2015 by Nate Marshall. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Author


Nate Marshall

Nate Marshall is the author of Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). 

Date Published: 2017-04-13

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/picking-flowers