You don’t put flowers in poems
for decoration, or to fill in
empty spaces, but because
they punctuated your days
at a certain juncture—
like the milkweed blooming
by the road when I went running
(sweating and thinking about sex)
that first summer we were apart,
the first year we were together.
I pressed one sweet pink globe
between the pages of my Rimbaud
and enclosed it with a letter.
Thirty-two years later,
its stain still marks the poems.
JEFFREY HARRISON is the author of four full-length books of poems—most recently Incomplete Knowledge (Four Way Books), which was runner-up for the Poets’ Prize in 2008—as well as of The Names of Things (2006), a selection published by the Waywiser Press in the U.K. A recipient of Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, he has new work in recent or forthcoming issues of The Yale Review, The New Republic, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.