Don Bogen

Flowers in a Vase
June 25, 2017 Bogen Don

Flowers in a Vase


The dahlias’ unopened buds poke like periscopes above their clownish mass
Green-yellow-red ranks of petals peel back around the hungry centers
Their bent-open invitations frame a pillow of seed
The long stems are drinking straws, the leaves a simple engine of sunlight
I understand their mechanics which will end soon

They droop in the vase now:  cut, sterile, a blazon
That slashes the white apartment walls, the leather couch, all the tastefulness
My gaze moves between them and a pad of paper like an art student’s
Their repeated gestures look intricate and foreign
Blatant life, oblivious to its strategies, assaults the eye

After a day their water grows murky as turtles’
Blowsy, blown, they will keep on fading whether I change it or not
A waxy perfume exudes from them
Nothing will complete their purposes here
They have no point to make but they shout

Don Bogen is the author of five books of poetry, including Immediate Song (Milkweed Editions, 2019). His poems have appeared recently in Poetry Northwest, Agni, The Yale Review, and other journals. An emeritus professor at the University of Cincinnati, he splits his time between Cincinnati and Martinez, California. His website is