Buttercup, That Laughing Flower
Alice Friman

Buttercup, That Laughing Flower

Tell me a buttercup story
(that drip of dropped sunshine)

without sliding down the stem
to root and rain. A story whose

effect floats free from its cause.
A day-after-tomorrow story,

and make it good. Today’s
words fell out of the envelope

to bleed on the floor and all
the soap and water in the world

won’t wash them away. So talk
to me of yellow. Number 2 pencils

and Vincent’s chair, the yellow
brick road and hot-dog mustard,

all things that stand without
backstory—the perennials

of the mind—true and fresh
yesterday as tomorrow. Yes,

tell me a story of buttercups,
not orchids or hot-house roses,

but these pilgrims of simple
happy, flashing at our feet.

Alice Friman

is the author of seven collections, including Blood Weather (LSU Press); The View from Saturn; and Vinculum, for which she won the 2012 Georgia Author of the Year Award in poetry. Her other books include Inverted Fire and The Book of the Rotten Daughter, both from BkMk, as well as Zoo (University of Arkansas Press), which won the Sheila Margaret Motton Prize from the New England Poetry Club. She is professor emerita of English and creative writing at the University of Indianapolis and lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she was Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College.