by Andre Monserrat
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Orpheus at the Florist’s
by Kevin Klein
So mud-streaked and bleary when he first came in
I asked if his missus made him sleep outside.
Well, after the story, how could I make him pay
for a few flowers to put on her grave?
But he comes every week now and wants to help us
make a different bouquet each time, and he just waits
for someone to ask him what’s the occasion.
Eurydice gasps with each step, the snakebite bleeding
drops like tiny blossoms on the path back to earth.
He can’t bear her pain and, just as they reach the surface,
turns to look at her, breaking the gods’ command.
She flickers back to shadow, whispering “Farewell,
sweet Orpheus! Your only fault was loving me too much!”
Maybe I don’t know how love works in poetry,
but that’s not what I see here every day.
The truly grieving men don’t care about options
for fern and baby-breath sprays. They take
whatever you recommend and walk away
without their change. Orpheus has broken three vases
bumping them with his shouldered lyre as he bent down
to smell the stacked flowers just in from the truck.
He’s more like the hopeless romantics I help
impress a different woman every month,
so concerned with getting the exact flowers
that remind them of her. He’s like the men
who only buy flowers to apologize. The sunlight
spreading over a happy life as you stood
at the dark world’s edge – did it blind you, Orpheus?
How could you want those drops like tiny blossoms
more than her?