Walden Pemantle
Harriton High School

In the Flowers

I've walked these fields too long to turn back and you know that.
The nettles whip my shins every step I take
and the sun sits squarely on my back
sneering its toothless grin, ancient and awful

like when you planted your yellow jonquil
so low to the ground just to watch me bend to pick it,
or threw the chamomile I brought you to the compost pile
because it was a weed
and you needed space
for your newly pruned marigolds.

I wonder what the fruit vendor would say-
the one who gifts us free apples-
to the way you tasted my autumn pears:
putting them down slowly
and frowning at me like I fed you pure acid.

I let that pear tree die and don't regret it,
but oh, I need something else to eat
other than these sour grape seeds and crabapples
glowing green and out of season.

Forget reason, please. Send word on the breeze
so I know it's still worth walking.
Because so often I trip in these gardens,
lying down until nightfall when I can cry out alone
hidden in the underbrush,

tucked away from sight, brooding like a carnivore,
fighting to ignore your
fickle persimmon dimples, your bee-sting breath,
your gorgeous thorn bush eyebrows-
digging up the last seed sown
just to spite the skin-toned loam

until the first light of dawn
when that miserable sun
drags me back to my feet
and points me back east.

And then I look out and know I'm not turning back-
not with all these rows of sunflowers
staring down at me from their endless taunting faces,
the dry mud sinking beneath my feet,
inviting me underneath
like I've already given up.

I know I won't until these flower's
fragrant petals and bitter stalks
wilt away with everything that's left.
So do what you will

but if you miss me tonight, shine a light from your lonely silo
like the beacon I lost but still remember,
because if we can't survive the hot, balmy summer,
we sure as hell won't last through December.