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Henri Cole
Henri Cole
Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1956 and raised in...
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Poppies

 
by Henri Cole

Waking from comalike sleep, I saw the poppies,
with their limp necks and unregimented beauty.
Pause, I thought, say something true: It was night,
I wanted to kiss your lips, which remained supple,
but all the water in them had been replaced
with embalming compound. So I was angry.
I loved the poppies, with their wide-open faces,
how they carried themselves, beckoning to me
instead of pushing away. The way in and the way out
are the same, essentially: emotions disrupting thought,
proximity to God, the pain of separation.
I loved the poppies, with their effortless existence,
like grief and fate, but tempered and formalized.
Your hair was black and curly; I combed it.






Reprinted from Blackbird and Wolf © 2007 by Henri Cole, by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Learn more about FSG poets at fsgpoetry.com.
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