Death on a Sidewalk
I took a turn under a luncheon sun
for the unfurling of bearded iris flags,
billows unwound from pencil-thin buds--
purple, violet, blue, and cream petal-splashes
that I floated and puddled
on a thin archival page
in a class of middling women
lost in the loose paint-night spills
of dry rosé and gossip,
rendering watery Cotswold gardens,
masterworks to lavish on mudroom walls.
Yesterday a bed-edge iris took an early fall,
death by a rude shoe or tossed ball;
I stood over this rainbow rider,
now dirt-bound and brick-baked,
its royal frills shriveling into common bruises
and yellowing, like the nicotine fingers
of my painting teacher
tapping, always tapping, a Marlboro pack.
The iris cast a hard-headed silhouette
on the sidewalk—a gaping ruffle,
jaw-jutted open, in the moment of no air.
Catherine Hamrick is the copywriter for Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and previously held editorial positions at Cooking Light, Southern Accents, Better Homes and Gardens, and Meredith Books. Her poems have appeared in The Blue Mountain Review and storySouth. She posts reflections and creative writing on the blog Random Storyteller: https://randomstoryteller.com/.
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