Photo: "Faraway Near" by Kimberly Cunningham



Every week I go to the grocery store and lust

for perennial bloomers. Eye pots of roses. I would give

them my home—glorious soil, and with a new-found love

and generosity, we could grow together.

The metaphor is not found here. Stay literal. Stick with me.


Up through the cracks, I’ve suspected up

through the broken glass… for some time devil

that I have been receiving, pour me

another shot [1]—digital roses.

And what’s to be done?

Sometimes these things happen; there’s love coiling at the end

of the stem, unfolding, bold bleeding leaf

by leaf, affection slides away with a gracious rush.


Of course, I want to heed the advice—o, be generous

with red yes [2] but not too generous as to be seen, noticed.

I would not want to shake, hurt, offend. I want

to be silent progenitor of all spring-kindness-deeds.

Head tilting, sideways—hands

outstretched. Only

generous when the correct lover is present. I want

to be giving my yeswords.

Nobody wants yes

words, just yet.

I court myself. Of course

I lose

generosity in this process. Forget what it entails.

After this pummeling by bee torrent always always


an offering, a quick unfurling

sound. A rush of fur from running fox. The other roses drop

around. Drop around. Look, quiet. Loss. Fear. I do not

command steadied studied gaze long enough.

See errant scars. Old yes. Old there. Wind. River.

Spring dwindles into summer. Yes is yesser than ever

but still silent, so as not to offend.


It happens. Silence kicks the bud from the stem.

This network stops feeding; the leaves shrivel.

Green stops greening. Summer slowly binds yes.

It coils in a book. Never less fragrant, but a pressed

subtracted volume. Victorian spines compact the ribs

of the brilliant pollutant, haze-sky-yes-who-lost-her-luster.

She only shows

for the few who take the time to open

the book. You don’t know

which page

to turn to, do you? [3]

~ Kari A. Flickinger

[1] From Concrete Blonde’s “Roses Grow”

[2] From James Joyce’s Ulysses. Molly Bloom’s monologue.

[3] From Cake’s song “Open Book”


Kari A. Flickinger was a 2019 nominee for the Rhysling Award, and a finalist in the IHLR 2018 Photo Finish. Her poetry was published in Written Here, Riddled with Arrows, BHP, Door-Is-A-Jar, Ghost City Review, and Mojave Heart Review among others. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley. When not writing, she plays guitar to her unreasonably large Highlander cat. Find her: @kariflickinger.

Kimberly Cunningham taught children in various settings for 32 years. However, writing always remained her passion. In 2017, she dusted off her journals, picked up a pen and started spilling ink. To date, she penned and self published three books , "Undefined," "Sprinkles on Top," and "Smooth Rough Edges." In addition, she has 24 pieces of published work in journals, anthologies and on line.

Kimberly has a BS Degree in Elementary Education and a MA Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Her lifelong belief is of the idea that each one should teach one.

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