I am a previously "young" poet, who then became a "younger" poet, and now finds himself a rather "old" poet. I like to think the next category will be "classic" rather than "late." My new book 99 Poems: New & Selected, has just been published by Graywolf Press, and I have recently been appointed as California's state Poet Laureate by Governor Jerry Brown.
Thanks for Remembering Us
The flowers sent here by mistake,
signed with a name that no one knew,
are turning bad. What shall we do?
Our neighbor says they're not for her,
and no one has a birthday near.
We should thank someone for the blunder.
Is one of us having an affair?
At first we laugh, and then we wonder.
The iris was the first to die,
enshrouded in its sickly-sweet
and lingering perfume. The roses
fell one petal at a time,
and now the ferns are turning dry.
The room smells like a funeral,
but there they sit, too much at home,
accusing us of some small crime,
like love forgotten, and we can't
throw out a gift we've never owned.
©1986 Dana Gioia