Daphne Gottlieb


Why Things Burn - Poem by Daphne Gottlieb

My fire-eating career came to an end
when I could no longer tell
when to spit and when

to swallow.
Last night in Amsterdam,
1,000 tulips burned to death.

I have an alibi. When I walked by
your garden, your hand
grenades were in bloom.

You caught me playing
loves me, loves me
not, metal pins between my teeth.

I forget the difference
between seduction
and arson,

ignition and cognition. I am a girl
with incendiary
vices and you have a filthy never

mind. If you say no, twice,
it's a four-letter word.
You are so dirty, people have planted

flowers on you: heliotropes. sun-
flowers. You'll take
anything. Loves me,

loves me not.
I want to bend you over
and whisper: 'potting soil, ' 'fresh

cut.' When you made
the urgent fists of peonies
a proposition, I stole a pair of botanists'

hands. Green. Confident. All thumbs.
I look sharp in garden
shears and it rained spring

all night.1,000 tulips
burned to death
in Amsterdam.

We didn't hear the sirens.
All night, you held my alibis
so softly, like taboos

already broken.


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Read poems about / on: girl, death, spring, night, green, fire, people, sun, flower



Poem Submitted: Friday, November 28, 2003



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