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Devon Miller-Duggan

In Celebration of My Retirement
from Arranging Church Flowers for 30 Years

Easter Procession by Maurice Prendergast

I often have not known what to do with this life
except arrange flowers for funerals and weddings.
Odd numbers and asymmetry make the most dynamic arrangements.
Pay attention to the Color Wheel. Mix textures and shapes.
I only know the names of flowers I buy for inside—cultivated hybrids
drugged and trained into perfection. I never see them
in profusion, ragged, bug-chewed, bee-ridden, noisy about their own beauty.
These flowers are never allowed to feed Monarch butterflies or aphids.
I stripped away thorns and water-stealing leaves,
ignoring the absence of bruises or bugs,
creaturely realities Dutch painters always included
to say that it all dies, all petals drop away.


About the writer:
Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, Gargoyle. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas Books, 2008), Neither Prayer, Nor Bird (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and Alphabet Year (Wipf & Stock, 2017).

Image: Easter Procession by Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924). No medium specified. No size specified. 1898. Public domain.

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