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Childhood Friend

Is this what you asked for, my friend, these words, is


what you meant when you said—?

On the bus, it settled between us, the dead

skin of living

children in a blizzard. Sand

from the stars. Ancient violets. The crushed

wings of bees and the dander of birds. So

much small stuff, yes, on the breeze, but at our desks

the sun

made a circus of it. Asthma, weeping, elephants,

and clowns. A man slipped screaming from his trapeze

as a sequined girl twirled

over him in a noose—

Excuse me? I couldn’t

hear what you said

over the roar of the billion

specks descending, over the accumulation of flakes

and scales.

You asked me for something, I know that much, I know

you called my name

as you stumbled down the garden

path beneath my bed, gasping, as you knelt down there

and died

among the childhood flowers made of dust and human


from Gardening in the DarkFind it in the library

Copyright © 2004 Laura Kasischke
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Laura Kasischke Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.