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Tuesday, August 22, 2017


by Kathleen McClung

A Michigan woman accused of stealing flowers from local cemeteries that authorities say she used to decorate her home has been sentenced to jail. [She] was arrested after someone saw a car full of flowers leaving a cemetery. —The Detroit News, July 24, 2017

Such lavish praise on nearly every stone.
Nobody ever cheated here, I guess,
or bounced a check, defaulted on a loan,
or lit evictions with a black Zippo. Success
blooms here in jelly jars of peonies,
hibiscus, orchids, mums. They go to waste
each Tuesday though, when short-timers turn keys
on mowers, ride around, bring home bouquets
to wives. (My ex did once, ten years ago.
Then he left town with Viv.) On Monday nights
I make my rounds at dusk. I drive real slow
and pay respect, then load the car—blues, whites,
and fuchsias, sweet ceramic bowls the shape
of shamrocks, doves. They match my couch, my drapes.

Kathleen McClung lives, teaches, and writes in San Francisco. She judges sonnets for the Soul-Making Keats literary competition and hears the poetry in people trying to make ends meet.