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  4. from The Spring Flowers Own: “The morning after / my death” by Etel Adnan
from The Spring Flowers Own: “The morning after / my death”

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The morning after
my death
we will sit in cafés
but I will not
be there
I will not be


*


There was the great death of birds
the moon was consumed with
fire
the stars were visible
until noon.


Green was the forest drenched
with shadows
the roads were serpentine


A redwood tree stood
alone
with its lean and lit body
unable to follow the
cars that went by with
frenzy
a tree is always an immutable
traveller.


The moon darkened at dawn
the mountain quivered
with anticipation
and the ocean was double-shaded:
the blue of its surface with the
blue of flowers
mingled in horizontal water trails
there was a breeze to
witness the hour


*


The sun darkened at the
fifth hour of the
day
the beach was covered with
conversations
pebbles started to pour into holes
and waves came in like
horses.


*


The moon darkened on Christmas eve
angels ate lemons
in illuminated churches
there was a blue rug
planted with stars
above our heads
lemonade and war news
competed for our attention
our breath was warmer than
the hills.


*


There was a great slaughter of
rocks   of spring leaves
of creeks
the stars showed fully
the last king of the Mountain
gave battle
and got killed.


We lay on the grass
covered dried blood with our
bodies
green blades swayed between
our teeth.


*


We went out to sea
a bank of whales was heading
South
a young man among us a hero
tried to straddle one of the
sea creatures
his body emerged as a muddy pool
                           as mud
we waved goodbye to his remnants
happy not to have to bury
him in the early hours of the day


We got drunk in a barroom
the small town of Fairfax
had just gone to bed
cherry trees were bending under the
weight of their flowers:
they were involved in a ceremonial
dance to which no one
had ever been invited.


*


I know flowers to be funeral companions
they make poisons and venoms
and eat abandoned stone walls


I know flowers shine stronger
than the sun
their eclipse means the end of
times


but I love flowers for their treachery
their fragile bodies
grace my imagination’s avenues


without their presence
my mind would be an unmarked
grave.


*


We met a great storm at sea
looked back at the
rocking cliffs
the sand was going under
black birds were
leaving
the storm ate friends and foes
alike
water turned into salt for
my wounds.


*


Flowers end in frozen patterns
artificial gardens cover
the floors
we get up close to midnight
search with powerful lights
the tiniest shrubs on the
meadows
A stream desperately is running to
the ocean


*

Etel Adnan, from “The Spring Flowers Own" from The Spring Flowers Own & The Manifestations of the Voyage. Copyright © 1990 by Etel Adnan.  Reprinted by permission of Post-Apollo Press.
Source: The Spring Flowers Own & The Manifestations of the Voyage (The Post-Apollo Press, 1990)
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from The Spring Flowers Own: “The morning after / my death”

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