LIVES IN DECLINE
What were we to make
of the insurrection of yellow flowers?
Seedlings sprouted and bloomed
as if compelled to do their duty,
but not one of them thrived.
We shrank from conversation,
spent the early months inside,
watching fall previews
on the television,
even singing sometimes
the jingles that began each program.
When you lost your job and the cost
consumed more of our budget,
we cancelled cable
and spent more time in the dark.
We didn't talk any more than we did
those evenings we'd spent
stretched out on the braided rug
jotting down clues to solve
the latest serial murder
while the lanky detective
pursued the wrong man.
We didn't know then
how rare a yellow flower
opening its petals in a North window,
or how the Cathedral bell ringing
down the street could signal
the passage of time even on days
when the minute hand stopped.
—This poem first appeared in THE DIRTY NAPKIN, 2008
Jayne Pupek is the author of the novel, Tomato Girl and two books of poems, Forms of Intercession and The Livelihood of Crows.