Nonno by Clint Bowman

For my grandfather

Graveside poinsettias
wilt in winter frost—

I walk by them
in yesterday’s clothes,
solemn as a silent film.

My memory holds on
to everything
like a shallow grave
in a flood plain.

The slightest sound
of certain songs,
and smell of old cologne,
resurrect you
to my consciousness.

I’m unable
to decompose the past
with your hand-me-downs
wrapped around my waist
and draped across my shoulders.

So you remain
a plastic bouquet
always in bloom
next to the graves
of others I never knew.

Hopefully one day
I’ll join you
in the flower shop
of heaven,
where we’ll pick out
my arrangement
through the hands
of our descendants.


Clint Bowman is a writer from Black Mountain, North Carolina. During the day, Clint works as Recreation Coordinator leading hikes and other outdoor programs. In the evening, Clint co-facilitates the Dark City Poets Society- a free poetry group offered through the local library. More of Clint’s work can be found in the California Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, Plum Tree Tavern, and Main Street Rag.

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