Deterrent 005

by tiresomemoi

Metal deterrent, rue du Faubourg Saint-Jaques – 19 December 201520151219 Metal deterrent 005


It is the end of December and it is warm and sunny in Paris. This is utterly wrong and totally wonderful. I know the heat wave will and should end but I’m greedy for more.


Here a poem that embraces both piss (by extension) and sun, Jennifer Grotz’s “Poppies”:


There is a sadness everywhere present

but impossible to point to, a sadness that hides in the world

and lingers. You look for it because it is everywhere.

When you give up, it haunts your dreams

with black pepper and blood and when you wake

you don’t know where you are.


But then you see the poppies, a disheveled stand of them.

And the sun shining down like God, loving all of us equally,

mountain and valley, plant, animal, human, and therefore

shouldn’t we love all things equally back?

And then you see the clouds.


The poppies are wild, they are only beautiful and tall

so long as you do not cut them,

they are like the feral cat who purrs and rubs against your leg

but will scratch you if you touch back.

Love is letting the world be half-tamed.

That’s how the rain comes, softly and attentively, then


with unstoppable force. If you

stare upwards as it falls, you will see

they are falling sparks that light nothing only because

the ground interrupts them. You can hear the way they’d burn,

the smoldering sound they make falling into the grass.


That is a sound for the sadness everywhere present.

The closest you have come to seeing it

is at night, with the window open and the lamp on,

when the moths perch on the white walls,

tiny as a fingernail to large as a Gerbera daisy

and take turns agitating around the light.


If you grasp one by the wing,

its pill-sized body will convulse

in your closed palm and you can feel the wing beats

like an eyelid’s obsessive blinking open to see.

But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing

as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.


“Poppies” first appeared in The New England Review