Mustard Flower

LA Jones


The instructor is quoting Yeats. Behind him a painting of a
naked woman, her legs lifted so that most of her torso is hidden,
a tiny bit of dark curl peeking between her legs.

                                                        time bends
                                                        fractures, accordions

At the same time I am the good student. I am writing down the
teacher’s words and searching my mind for . . .

a train chimes

                                                        shards of glass
                                                        ching–the sly laugh
                                                        of a girl-woman watching.
                                                        This painter–some earnest
                                                        impressionist–has made a
                                                        Picasso out of


This morning:
I drove behind other speeding cars
past dormant farmland
below a wan, but not unfriendly sky
midway out
the stand of trees calling
tule, briar, and twig
and dead animals
like old throw pillows damp
with the weight of the organic
slumped and broken
on the side of the road, fast
strokes of russet, ash, smoke of blue


and yellow
Clare Means on the CD
singing about blood spilling from skin
wasps of mustard effervescent, searing
past my peripheral vision.

Cutting: How the Iowa Review fiction writer told of a man cutting
into a woman and made it beautiful and chilling, so that Kate wanted
to put her head between her knees from faintness and liked it.

And I could not say that
–though it was expertly done, effective.
[Me] Tied to what
is true. Wanting no more suffering,
unless it’s necessary,
unless a witness is needed.


But what kind of truth?
                    Infinite tiny flowers
constellations popping out
in the dandelion of morning light like a dream
or fog, their voids like rips
in peripheral vision
tearing into me, some
kind of safe desire and vibrant
longing in that yellow, in the coincidence of
a song.
                                                        a different kind of Picasso as if
                                                        the woman traveled back
                                                        into her girl self
                                                        so she could laugh
                                                        this time around.

LA Jones

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.


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