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Wild Poppies

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And how do you survive? Your long throat,
your red-rag-to-a-bull head?

You rise heavy in the night, stars drinking
from your poppy neck.

Your henna silks serenade me
under the breadth of the Pyrenees.

You move like an opera,
open like sea anemones.

You are earth’s first blood.
How the birds love you,

I envy your lipstick dress.
You are urgent as airmail, animal red,

Ash Wednesday crosses tattooed on your head.
Your butterfly breath

releases your scents, your secrets,
bees blackening your mouth

as your dirty red laundry
all hangs out.

Source: Poetry (January 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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Wild Poppies

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