Duende with Poppies
BY HELENA MESA
Orange heads atop too-thin necks,
crepe petals I want to pluck and eat, their orange
a sherbet, a mango skin I want to split
to suck the seed, its juice running down my arms.
Rothko orange, neon orange, orange I’d wear
in deep summer,
orange the sunlight would be
if given a choice. A chorus of baritones,
a few tambourines.
Orange cardigan my sister wore, lounging
in my dream last night, her hand trailing
the petals—she sang the song we all sang
as children before we knew what the Spanish
meant—such joy for a man dying in war!
If a field
covered the entrance to the underworld, its grass
would be orange—this orange, the orange of street cones
blocking unfinished roads—the same orange
hunters wear to announce they exist.
that the breeze peels back
to a merlot heart that clenches, releases,
before the blossom flutters shut.