I sit where I always sit
on stone hewn hedge, mountain yawning –
Every green, every yellow meets its light.
It is how it’s always been and I’m the ghast-eyed splendorer.
So that’s a poppy. It’s black heart misdrawn in the wildflower guides,
the velvets inexpressible, the brush strokes too delicate.
My own pale pretenders back home seem like paper tissue dolls –
but poppies are soporifics and I cannot help but want
to grow them.
Whatever it is I have looked for
I have poisoned myself in the looking.
I fell asleep whispering a strange name.
Sleep mad yet walking, shading my eyes from hyperreal sun,
my teeth bite that name at the root of its tongue.
It’s not the first time I’ve stood
at the edge of this rust and saffron field, its borders
precious, my feet bare. Yarrow, yarrow,
There is nothing
to do but carve a new way:
leaflets and stickers whisper rough and trembling calves.
Walk and keep walking.
Ashley Roach-Freiman is a second year MFA student at the University of Memphis where she is the Senior Poetry Editor for the Pinch Journal. She has poems appearing or forthcoming in Dunes Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal, District, Midway Journal, and Rock & Sling.She spent a week over the summer at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and now fantasizes about living in a California poetry commune. She coordinates the Impossible Language reading series in Memphis, TN.