All in by Juliana Gray

bu Juliana Gray

Feeling sorry for myself,

I blew five bucks


on grocery store tulips,

pink as organ meats.


Outside, April sleeted down,

sealing the earth. A treat.


My good cleaver trimmed

the stems; an aspirin wafer dissolved


at the bottom of a blue vase.

If I’d stopped thinking,


I could’ve had what I wanted:

innocent prettiness.


But Google confirmed my pangs,

described the suffering


of cats who nibbled toxic leaves

or petals. Metaphor,


again. It always ends this way:

prowlers on the ground


and some verdant god enshrined

on a high shelf, unreachable.


Juliana Gray is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Honeymoon Palsy (Measure Press 2017). Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Birmingham Poetry Review, 32 Poems, The Cincinnati Review, and other journals, and her humor writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and elsewhere. An Alabama native, she lives in western New York and teaches at Alfred University.