Orderly Squads of Flowers in the Chaos of Existence

By STEPHEN HAVEN

Night-drunk bees s(t)unned on October’s panes,
Their dried husks in the windshield of a late-night thought,
Home is just a breadth of road away.

Each limousine the pinwheel of a funeral.
50% cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The night nurse easing your thin bottom

Cold to your last commode. Or the telescope
That once outdated Hubble. Each prayer.
Each tank of air. The work we do. Once above

North Africa each Comanche helicopter, the pilots
In their bubbles. The way the British
Love to queue. Dust grazing the gown

Of the Confucian scholar, fat in the Maoist mode.
Your last dollars gone to origami
In the glass jar of the casino.

 

Stephen Haven is the author of The Last Sacred Place in North America (2012, winner of the New American Press Poetry Prize). He has published two previous collections of poetry, Dust and Bread (2008, for which he was named Ohio Poet of the Year), and The Long Silence of the Mohawk Carpet Smokestack (2004). He directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Ashland University, in Ohio. He was twice a Fulbright Professor of American literature at universities in Beijing.

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Orderly Squads of Flowers in the Chaos of Existence

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