Four Bouquets

Four Bouquets

old wives would call this
temptation rain

when even a soiled heart
can be scoured
under april sheets

old men would sink
into the still-ice ocean

because from everywhere
the lilies come
to stink so sweet


the only entrance
to Our Lady of the Highway
is from the breakdown lane

then up a twining switchback
and past the billboard:

Do you know where you’re going? – God
wherever it goes
first I must wade
through the kudzu vines
and tongues of forsythia

through the beds of leper blooms
fallen, limp at my toes


even before the crocus yawned
or magnolia took the razor
from her boot

there were men unbuilding
with cigar stump smoke billowing
like an architect’s halo

squashing houses
like knots of mating

carpenter bees

yet they won’t paint over

the sign:

The End is Nere Here


God is growing
in my mouth

why I planted it there
I cannot say

except maybe
I wanted so badly

to say something
that is as terrifying

as a bulb that never shot
but that now will not die