Flowers other than Gold

The naivist from impoverished lands,
like a simple cow, proud and easily tricked,
corralled from her plants and vegetative state,
thrown into a world of manifest profiteering,
is betrayed.

Our beloved architect,
prosaic savior,
enlightened scribe,
gritty American,
watches through the glass,
the melted panes,
spared the shattering
of Krystalnacht,
and presents hefty insights
that he’s made up
from the heated security
of his imagined usefulness.

For what self is in need,
so desperately of its own history,
colored by myopic polish,
exclusion, and exaggerated relevance?

No, self is now, America,
and our past is behind us.
And the chrysanthemums lie,
neither broken nor sown,
a token of the imagined
tragedy that we use
to hide our plainer sight
of the sadder art,
the longer art,
the myriad betrayals
within us.

[Prompted by Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”]

(c) 2017 Emma Gabriel


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