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Etiquette

Judson Mitcham
June goes gaudy with bad boutonnieres—
flamingo mimosas, the giant
magnolia's bowl of petals. Let us consider

the man not welcome at the wedding.
What's the etiquette for the bad father?
What's the right flower for the ignored-

with-good-reason, the uninvited? A hydrangea,
head wide as a cabbage; or the bull thistle
wild along the roads; or a dandelion,

only a stalk stuck to his lapel by the time
he insists on their dance? He is a sad weed
himself, this man who has no daughter

but tries to hold her.

From A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New by Judson Mitcham. Copyright © 2007 by Judson Mitcham. Reprinted with permission of the University of Georgia Press.

From A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New by Judson Mitcham. Copyright © 2007 by Judson Mitcham. Reprinted with permission of the University of Georgia Press.

Judson Mitcham