“Pacific Dogwood” by Martin Willitts, Jr.

Martin Willitts, Jr.


This native species was dreadfully
scourged by disease,
like my own terminal body

the straight, smooth-barked
ascending branches
tipped by creamy flowers in April,
often blossom again in late summer or fall
unlike my own groaning muscles & putrid flesh

its wood is extremely hard,
pink, and split-prone,
limited by time and age I throb horribly,
the diabetes dwelling unnoticed in me

each twig
the large flower is attached to
is bent to prevent
overlapping with other flowers
and there are days
when my back bends down too
carrying the weight of ages
the creaminess of cataracts forming
the fall of my days are no longer green

from Rattle #23, Summer 2005

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