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My grandmother grew flowers for each grandchild,

Let us pick rose or lily, sunflower or black-eyed susan.

Tiger lilies for me, their petals dusted with black pollen

Like a moth's shadow.

In the summer evenings, we sat on the porch,

Feeling the day's warmth in the floorboards,

And watched the night swell up from the horizon,

Playing Chinese checkers until everything was darkness

Edged with streetlights where great orange moths

Shaped like flowers flickered through their pools.

I'd read Hans Christian Andersen and imagined

Every object in my vicinity charged with storytelling

And explaining its existence:

The Chinese checkers telling twenty separate tales

As they hopped across the board. One was a pirate's gem,

Another had flown in an UFO, big bellied and orange as marsh gas.

One had fallen in love with the scent of madness

And one ran away, rolled away into the grass

To sing to the tiger lily that was its love

In the silvery moonlight that touched each rose.

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