Do Not Partake of the Abundance - Amy Spanel


On the bouquet - kept to myself-
 

didn’t read this aloud
 

DO NOT PARTAKE OF THE ABUNDANCE


my mother said through her rituals


of DON’T PICK THE FLOWERS.


Even now, I feel the pull in me


when picking the lusty blossoms from a laden bush.


Half in shade, half in sun, it welcomes me


to partake - fuzzy pink bells with cerebral aroma


for anyone - fragrant garnishings for a bouquet


I started from run-of-the-mill daisies - 


by the subway. Now, a few stops away


from the YA GOTTA GRAB IT WHILE YA CAN


‘CAUSE THERE WON’T BE ENOUGH - I see 


there is plenty. And this bouquet


happens to be for Etheridge --

 


[pg2] but of course I’d like to keep it for me--


yellow, white and pink variations of purity --


bridal suggestive or a muses’s breath --
 
I will hand it to Etheridge in the freshness


of a man getting flowers from a woman --


hopefully, this will not blow him away


on this breezy afternoon - people so used to


the vice-versa -- airily, Gwendolyn


Brooks said, ‘Oh, people send me flowers all the time!’


Standing in her office on her almost-last-day --


with The Library of Congress, I spied


several arrangements of carnations and baby’s breath.


The innocence, the purity, the persistence of the muse’s existence

 


[pg3] passing through my hands from those plucked


blossoms, that bouquet to Etheridge, into this


pen - and the laurel’s wreath of peace 


and wisdom is protecting the three of us 


with a halo made of flower-wreaths--


Gwendolyn is probably pushing 70; 


in his mid-50s, Eth survived heroin; 


and I am scared to death of fertility -- 


whose potential in me feels like cancer --
 
All of these inescapables about ourselves -- 


with death’s drawn-out-way of doing us in -- 


still do not take away the realness 


of these shasta daisies and bush-blossoms 


[pg4] tucked within a white sheet of paper 


rustling in their stable way with the wind.


This inner and dexterous blossoming of activity


is at least one thing girlish left in me.


May the muse continue to breathe its refuge 


for me with bush-blossoms, bouquets, 


and poets who have been oraclely where I am going


2:55 TUESDAY


May 13, 1986


3:35