All in by Callista Buchen

by Callista Buchen

here, in the sunshine, a lemon

picked from a neighbor’s tree

like the moon later on, in the right

season for color, a giant caution

light, cars slowing, waiting, heads

turning left—right—left, and still

someone grows daylilies, daffodils,  

and marigolds in the landscaped beds

by the nursing home windows,

jaundice, fear, and a canary

named Stan who sings and sings,

having learned the melodies

from a recording when he was younger, 

while someone creams butter and sugar,

adds yolks until the mixture becomes

something else and disappears,

like the old song, like the petals

that drop and the stems that carry on,

holding space. Bow ties, novelty

socks, the right shade of campfire,

the moment where flame leaps

and vanishes, the murmurs of goodnight,

goodnight, holding a cold hand

in a cold hospital room, stained

glass windows and old paper,

that handwriting, the words still good.


Callista Buchen is the author of Look Look Look (forthcoming, Black Lawrence Press) and the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, October 2015) and Double-Mouthed (winter 2016, dancing girl press). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals, and she is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award and DIAGRAM's essay contest.