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This poem is taken from PN Review 134, Volume 26 Number 6, July - August 2000.

Two Poems Anne Stevenson

False Flowers
(For Caroline Ireland)

They were to have been a love gift,
but when she slit the paper funnel,
they both saw they were fake; false flowers
he'd picked in haste from the store's display,
handmade coloured stuff, stiff as crinoline.

Instantly she thought of women's hands
cutting in grimy light by a sweatshop window;
rough plank tables strewn with cut-out
flower heads: lily, iris, primula, scentless
chrysanthemums, pistils rigged on wire
in crowns of sponge-tipped stamens,
sepals and petals perfect, perfectly
immune to menaces from the garden.

Why so wrong, so...flattening? Why not instead
symbols of unchanging love?
...


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