The flower shop around the corner is so small you step in and the flowers eat you. The woman who runs it has the charm and grace of a fire door. How many times walking to the bus in the morning have I seen her setting up, thumping flower buckets onto cable-wheel tables. How many evenings tearing down, dragging on a curbside smoke as if trying to suck a stone through a straw.

At night she gives away singles too wilted to pair or sell. They sit by the mouth of a garage in a pail labelled Take Some. Sometimes I do. The arrangements my wife makes of them tend to be more ragtag than zen, and they don’t last long. But sometimes we get  blooms you can hardly believe. If me move, and we might soon, I’ll miss the flower lady’s offerings and whatever she’s brokered between herself and our dull city block, where the rent keeps going up.

Afterlife (I)

Afterlife (II)

Afterlife (III)

Afterlife (IV)


The herons are returning.
An April dusk slips undone
and a pair fly over the sea.
Their white, viscous necks

are stretched by flight
and catch the light like both
edges of a narrow blade
held, you once said, just so.

And in the last of the blackened
Bering snow, the remains
of New Year’s Eve firecrackers

suspended coldly like blubber
in water, like two broken fists,
there inside you all along.

Words and images © Chris Bronsk 2013

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