One Poisoned Flower

Devlin De La Chapa

he brings to me a single white
Gardenia faintly dusted
in Agent Orange
blossom

he’s embarrassed to tell me
about Nam, about the
painted ladies in
almond eyes
or about

how he dreamt about Dow
Chem the color of my
skin becoming
unforeign to
his mental
portrait
of me

he’s embarrassed to tell me how
he’s kept me hidden beneath
the bowels of his personal
Mekong Delta, humping
his way to my heart
only if true love
existed

and how I was nothing but unspent
gunpowder clinging to half-spent
slugs beneath his trigger finger
killing off men to give him
peace of mind when
he came home to
give me this 1
poisoned
flower

and with this Gardenia, weltering
from defeat and deception,
he’s embarrassed to ask
if I will accept him as
half the man he’s 
now become?

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