Back to Issue Eighteen.

brother returns as sunflower


As a stranger, you glanced over my shoulder on the train.
I was reading about twenty-four sunflowers
set in ponds near Chernobyl after the plume.
Attention to the sky, roots hungry for earth,
inhaling blight and metal into themselves, any two
blossoms touching only once. They had no mouths
for each other, no hands. Only faces with one dark eye
dimming even as the water clarified.
Like the fading smell of dry rain in soil, your hair,
what we meant to say and will not remember.
What we should have done in the husk of this life.

Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello is the author of Hour of the Ox, which won the 2015 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and is forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press, and Last Train to the Midnight Market (2013). She has received poetry fellowships from Kundiman and the Knight Foundation, and her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2015, Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, Paper Darts, and more. She serves as co-founding editor for Print-Oriented Bastards and producer for The Working Poet Radio Show.

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