for Keyla Salvador, Stephen Romero & Trevor Irby
There was a bee
& it landed clumsily over
a field of poppy & yellow seep monkey.
There’s a gold rush here,
The rustle of golden yarrow & yellow stonecrop
local to Santa Clara County
only emboldened it
to dig through the pollen
& collect plenty its segmented hands can.
The waning afternoon sun meant
the canopies & tents
are about to be taken down soon
& garlands of garlic are to be kept
inside car boots & family vans.
Another summer festival
about to pass but we haven’t seen
the last of summer yet:
the bee still has pollen in its hands.
A field of poppy & yellow seep monkey
glinted gold in an afternoon sun.
We smelled garlic,
it clung like pollen in our shirts,
& left our breaths sticking to chewing gum.
A child would think vampire hunters
came to this haunt—
But there were mostly chefs, perhaps a child
crying from being bitten by
a gnat or a bee
dazed, confused landing on
a clove of garlic, sizzling on a frying pan.
Man with a whisker wore a garlic hat,
garlic ice cream slipped
between his fingers while a broken
up clove smiled at visitors snapping
photos from phones that smelled.
Another ordinary family trip,
another day for the patches of
checkerbloom & honey suckle
to stand out amidst the yellow,
& for our car to stand out during traffic,
the smell of garlic rising up as heat.
There was a girl
with golden yarrow & yellow
stonecrop laurel rustling on her hair.
She smelled garlic right before she
smelled the gunpowder—
Pacific winds caught a sneeze from the pollen
the bee dropped from its sac.
It got startled from
the spray of bullets flying
around canopies, cars, & garlands of garlic.
A boy that day imagined playing
the role of vampire hunter,
but his rifle fell on innocence,
not on vampires: a girl with a golden
yarrow & yellow stonecrop laurel
was one of them, her ice cream
melted amidst the afternoon heat.
Cars going home that day smelled
garlic, but one left an empty seat.
There was a bee & it gathered pollen right
before, it gathered the gunpowder.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones