Lynne Knight

In Which You, the Snakes, and Long-gone Flowers Disappear

		after Courbet

What a strange place to put a vase of flowers —
outside on an old bench, about to tumble
over from their weight. How many more hours
can they last? Will they die before the rumble

of horse-drawn carts (one’s passing now) begins
the fall of rose and daisy, phlox, blue gentian
until the whole thing crashes, water thins
into a ribbon in the dirt? Mention

a ribbon in the dirt, long snakes appear
in the mind’s eye and start to narrow through
the synapses and slip into the ear
canal where they turn everything into

death’s prelude — all you hear a kind of prayer
against what’s passing you no longer there.