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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 1, 2019.
About this Poem 

“I drafted this poem while waiting in the carpool line at my son’s school. I’d been thinking all summer about this wise/funny/sad/accurate term my kids had unintentionally coined for these flowers, but it was those quiet moments of waiting in line plus the close proximity of the elementary school that set this poem in motion.”
—Catherine Pierce

High Dangerous

is what my sons call the flowers—
purple, white, electric blue—
 
pom-pomming bushes all along
the beach town streets.
 
I can’t correct them into
hydrangeas, or I won’t.
 
Bees ricochet in and out
of the clustered petals,
 
and my sons panic and dash
and I tell them about good
 
insects, pollination, but the truth is
I want their fear-box full of bees.
 
This morning the radio
said tender age shelters.
 
This morning the glaciers
are retreating. How long now
 
until the space-print backpack
becomes district-policy clear?
 
We’re almost to the beach,
and High dangerous! my sons
 
yell again, their joy in having
spotted something beautiful,
 
and called it what it is.

Copyright © 2019 by Catherine Pierce. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Catherine Pierce. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Catherine Pierce

Catherine Pierce

Catherine Pierce was born in Delaware. She received a BA from Susquehanna University in 2000, an MFA from Ohio State University in 2003, and a PhD from the University of Missouri in 2007.

She is the author of The Tornado Is the World (Saturnalia, 2016); The Girls of Peculiar (Saturnalia, 2012), which won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Prize; and Famous Last Words (Saturnalia, 2008), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

by this poet

poem
This morning this planet is covered by winds and blue.
This morning this planet glows with dustless perfect light,
enough that I can see one million sharp leaves
from where I stand. I walk on this planet, its hard-packed
 
dirt and prickling grass, and I don’t