This is not a poem about the discarded love letter I found

hidden in my bookshelf between Sula and a three-year-old
box of Benadryl. I read once in a magazine that an assortment
of items says more about a person than their hair style. And you
can tell a lot from a person’s coif, their do, etc. 98 percent
of the world’s hair statistics involve numbers. Maybe even more.
The thing about this poem is this poem is decidedly not about
the other lives we could have lived. Their potential. Nothing is ever
worth being sentimental. I almost wrote: everything. Once, I saw
a woman with a beehive bend and sniff the tiger lilies in the open
air of the botanical gardens. They were orange as anything.
Have you ever seen a tiger lily? They look like little autopsies
of the sun. The end of the world spread out like petals of skin

until everything’s bright and quick, confused. Like war—
or something even more devastating. Lack, say. Or love.


J.M. Gamble is a Ph.D. student in Women's Studies and English at the University of Michigan. His work has appeared in The Rumpus, SOFTBLOW, and The Collapsar, among others.