for the idea of a son

i’ve been trying to plant sunflowers for two weeks,
each seed lowered as if into a grave.
something keeps digging them up:
claws furrow the flowerbed like combing the hair
of the earth. i think that it’s rabbits.
i’ve seen them, little ones, munching the stems
of dandelions like spring’s fresh licorice,
then hiding behind the hostas. in this world,
there are red-tail hawks with ice picks for talons,
they sell sprays made with dried blood
and putrescent eggs, and i once had a bb gun
that ate shot through its eye and spat it out
along its cold tongue. none of these
will grow sunflowers in autumn
whose heads will nod like tired children.

i’ll show you how to make fire:
press this button on the stove. see?
you’ve canonized it with a blue halo,
the patron saint of third-degree burns.
or we could ask the firetrucks to come
and paint the flames back on the buildings.
they use different hoses for that, alive and red
as vipers. the ambulances will return all their screams.
or ask the waiter for a candle—it will sit here
in its high chair of wax, fidgeting,
twirling its long hair of smoke.

if you come, i will greet you like an unexpected visitor,
suspiciously, not offering you a cup of coffee
or a place to sit. you will find our house beautiful,
with its ivy that embraces the chimney
and our cats who sleep like koi in puddles
of light. in this world, there are fires,
and rabbits, and airplanes that explode in the sky
for no reason. the cats whet their claws—
they’ve made sure of that.
as you set down your satchel filled with old
medical equipment (let’s listen to my heart;
let’s look into the gramophones of my ears)
and take off your hat, you’ll ask my name.
and then we’ll both be amazed.

for the idea of a son Banner Image

B.J. Best

B.J. Best

B.J. Best is the author of three books of poetry: But Our Princess Is in Another Castle (Rose Metal Press, 2013), Birds of Wisconsin (New Rivers Press, 2010), and State Sonnets (sunnyoutside, 2009). I got off the train at Ash Lake, a verse novella, is forthcoming from sunnyoutside in 2015. He lives in Wisconsin.
B.J. Best

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