Tincture

“…And what does Sorrow care
For the rosemary
Or the marigolds there?”
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Deep gold and orange, the bloom
of fire trees in summer; the waxy

blistering flesh of peppers.
I recall the story of a man

who sat by the roadside shoving
handful after handful of these

bright jewels into his inflamed
mouth, because he’d already spent

all his money from being tempted
by their red. What have I paid

for my own weaknesses? Night
after night my jaws grind through

the sluice in the cement mixer
of dreams. My hands cup to my lips

their extract: what remains after hot seeds
and skins have pressed into each other.

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