Dead Flowers by Jason Baldinger

Dead Flowers

as I order dinner
she requests a walk in the cemetery
she got flowers for her birthday
a first, she’s held onto them too long
now she wants to leave
dead flowers
as a gift on some random grave

dead flowers rest in a paper bag
we drain our beers
start walking

inside the gate
I ask if she has an idea
which stone
should receive second hand
dead flowers

she said she thought
she’d find a random grave
I say, pretty sure you don’t want
to lay these on just any random
dead white man, she says right
those motherfuckers
may have owned slaves

I ask if I may offer a suggestion
she agrees. the monument
for the Arsenal Explosion
rests at the back edge of the yard
a memorial to seventy-eight
mostly twenty something
mostly Scotch and Irish women
who died making ammunition
in the worst
industrial accident
of The Civil War

she says perfect
as she lays a dead flower
on some random veteran’s stone
a thought for her boyfriend
now serving in Afghanistan

I lead her to the far perimeter
stand aside
she studies the names
reads the inscriptions
walks around the stone
reaches in the bag
slowly leaves and petals fall
the remnants
of dead flowers

Jason BaldingerJason Baldinger is a poet hailing from Pittsburgh and recently finished a stint as writer in residence at the Osage Arts Community. He’s the author of several books, the most recent are This Useless Beauty (Alien Buddha Press), The Ugly Side of the Lake (Night Ballet Press) written with John Dorsey and the chaplet Fumbles Revelations (Grackle and Crow) which are available now. The collection Fragments of a Rainy Season (Six Gallery Press) and the split book with James Benger Little Fires Hiding (Spartan Press) are forthcoming. Recent publications include the Low Ghost Anthology Unconditional Surrender, The Dope Fiend Daily, Uppagus, Lilliput Review, Rusty Truck, Dirtbag Review, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nerve Cowboy Concrete Meat Press, Zombie Logic Press, Ramingo’s Porch, Blue Mountain Review, Red Fez, Blue Hour Review and Heartland! Poetry of Love, Solidarity and Resistance. You can hear Jason read poems on recent and forthcoming releases by Theremonster and Sub Pop Recording artist The Gotobeds as well as at

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