His eyes opened,
unhinging as if for the first time amidst
a field of Elysian poppies,
red as a balloon.
The sky twinkled,
a million yellow diamonds suspended by silken spider threads,
interrupted only by puffed white pompadours sleeping in the sky.
A stream ran along next to him,
clumsily sticking to rocks and sand--
pearly shells hidden beneath the tiny liquid feet.
He saw one stone
sitting on the shore,
paper white, and speckled
with ink-black pen pricks--
smooth as ice.
So he gruffly pliéd to
pick it up, and
righting himself, smiled,
then continued alone.
And the smell of coffee wafted across the grass.
He followed the scent,
speaking to himself in a rough and smoky baritone--
trudging happily over acres of dandelions.
He wanted to pick them all as he passed,
finding each more inspiring than the last,
but he left them,
instead sprinkling sage solution over their roots and leaves
to help them grow.
And then there’s the yellow Flicker
who flew overhead,
lighting the man’s path while
the threads began to set,
dimming the yellow diamonds too soon.
This piece is an ode to a friend and poetry teacher who died unexpectedly. He was a coffee drinking, cigarette-smoking poet and carpenter, who touched nearly every life during his time at my high school. The first time I heard his poetry was in 4th grade, when he read his poem 'Flicker' to my class. His most marked characteristic was to weave language and thought together. Rather than using periods, he would only pause thoughtfully, and continue with, 'And then there's...' Thank you, Michael, you're sorely missed.