flower parade

oh florida
I love your rain
& venetian blinds:

red parade of tiny flowers in the pool
open yesterday closed today
blown off your stems by the storm:

dead bees float along
transparent winged
dark bodies
slivers cut from fingernails:

pistils bee food ambers
I swim the pool through petals end
to end
each time I stop to breathe
the flower parade
comes toward me as if I am a city:

street under my chin over my breasts
my broken wrist:

2 mourning doves at the rim coo
puffed chests
they jump along the edge
heads dip:

I love the rough white concrete
on the soles of my feet
10 again in my first pool in florida:

snake gray indigo crumpled outside
a neighbor’s door at dusk
another snake half in the tar road
dead on its back
silver belly fish gleam
red line of garroting near the neck
though with a snake where does the neck end
ligature of car tire:

black triangle in the gulf
curved dolphin back
swimming parallel but solo
& then he’s underwater
a submarine ripple speeding vertically
toward shore & a family’s inner tube
2 babies the fin appears
& the father jumps back:

the father on the beach 2 days ago
said I think his motives are prurient
a pause
unclean he said
9 pelicans swam with me
a few small white birds who’d land
on the laundry hamper beaks
where I could see fish bump the rubber
mouth get swallowed
one bird keeps landing to stare eye
to eye with one pelican as if in love:

the dolphin passed us first on
the bird side of the beach
unusual to see one swim alone
they’re communal
I kept looking in its wake for another
but sometimes male dolphins fight
& if one loses very badly
he may be exiled:

the tourists surprisingly slow
in the warm green water
he’s among them
before heads turn.

This poem is from a manuscript in progress by Kelle Groom. Groom is the author of the memoir I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (Simon & Schuster 2011) and the poetry collections Five Kingdoms (Anhinga Press 2010), Luckily (Anhinga 2006), and Underwater City (University Press of Florida 2004).
*Photo courtesy of Mangrove Mike.
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