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This poem is taken from PN Review 173, Volume 33 Number 3, January - February 2007.

The Meanest Flower Mimi Khalvati


April opens the year with the first vowel,
opens it this year for my sixtieth.
Truth to tell, I'm ashamed what a child I am,
still so ignorant, so immune to facts.

There's nothing I love more than childhood, childhood
in viyella, crowned in a cotton headscarf,
frowning and impenetrable. Childhood,
swing your little bandy legs, take no notice

of worldliness. Courtiers mass around you -
old women all. This is your fat kingdom. The world
has given you rosebuds, painted on your headboard.

Measure the space between, a finger-span,
an open hand among roses, tip to tip,
a walking hand between them. None is open.


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