by Zachary Caballero


I wish you could smell this flower.
I don’t know the name of it, but
the pavement is blushing lavender
or a color in the lavender family, maybe
a first cousin to lavender, only more lovely
because it is in front of me and nameless,
but petals and petals and petals of beautiful anonymity,
how terribly difficult it must be to love
something you cannot say, ask to stay.

With me is Billy and we just ate ice cream and sorbet
after leaving San Dolores Park by riding a slide down
to the playground where just moments earlier,
a Mexican man earned his living by selling slices of pizza to smiling people
who still had room for want and and despite my distaste for fractions
it is nine-tenths a perfect day when
a little girl kneels down on the sidewalk outside the ice cream shop
and picks up this flower whose name could not possibly
achieve its purpose of explanation
or offer meaning without leaving too much room for
interpretation, but of course it has a name,
of course it belongs to something we can all say,
but what I want to say is,
a little girl knees down and picks up this flower
and puts her mouth up against it
like she’s part of the family, maybe a first cousin
or a sister, or a mother, or a daughter
and she pulls whatever sweetness there is
with her mouth, with her nose, with her whole body,
and I wish you could smell this flower.