Poetry by Candace Howze

Black Bouquet

When death comes
to drain the last vapor of oxygen
from a body, it does not ask for an address
to send the flowers.

I waited for them, imagined the petals
blackened and dry—exactly a dozen—
a crisp cold notecard
inscribed with an apology. 


Leaving Appalachia

I am scattered as the leaves of September. 

Gather me under an aged walnut,
trace your fingers
where my serrated edges and bruised veins
are weak. Rake the despair from the underside
of my memory and decompose it.  

I am bending from the wind,
feel like God dropped his colors on the mountainsides
of Virginia and made me:
an ever-changing forest,
crafted from broken twigs of time that I mold
into words and fold within the pages
of recycled  Moleskin books.  

I am restless from the autumn.

Death has interrupted our hope of a resurrection
and now we leave knowing there is no
going back. Meanwhile, I will blow away,
corrode into clay,
slip through the motions.
It is fine.

If we ever gather here again remember all that we are,
bury the burden, keep going.
We will be a new leaf—turned over—the old season



time is tucking the unseen
the unknown
the unwanted
into flipbooks of the brain 

and one day
they will fall dead behind eyelids
with the dead. silence 
in a still grave. 

let it rest or it will rumble
through loosely woven generations
who bare teeth and cough chuckles at family gatherings
just to appear one. God forbid

the widow discovers what her daughter
has done—of which there is no word for. 

time is ticking and it moves
slower in the end
than the beginning. and the unseen
sucks an empty bosom
looking for life.


Candace Howze is a freelance writer and multimedia artist based in North Carolina. Her work is published in Glass Poetry Press, Yellow Chair ReviewThe Huffington Post, CRWN Magazine, and more. She is the author of the chapbook Letters About Losing You and hosts Meraki Mentors podcast.

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