Explore O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press offerings on Amazon.

Support O:JA&L’s free presses.

Subscribe to the O:JA&L YouTube channel.
Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.
Follow O:JA&L on Facebook.

Jean C. Howard


Bouquet of Summer by Aleksandr Glukhov

Here they rise,
heads bowed
like nuns in pink
their thin necks
unsoiled by the dirt
below them.

Pale pink
washes the rocky peaks outside,
whose jagged granite
soaks up dawn’s

Which seeps onto
my windowsill,
onto her sister’s gift,
once frozen
on her bedstand,
engulfed in the heat
of hospice air.

As leaves,
drained pale,
haloed by the nightlight
of Jesus praying,
I waited
for the moment
then prepared
to discard them,
this flower basket
that dare not stir.

Yet here it sits
in my bedroom, 

reborn by April
from its 6-month silence,
entombed in dirt.
Buds now peer
shyly from their humble

Pink as all heaven,
for the sun’s
bold poke,
holding fiercely
onto the urge
to unfurl.


About the writer:
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, performance poet Jean Howard resided in Chicago from 1979 to 1999. She has since returned to Salt Lake City. A participant in the original development of the nationally acclaimed “Poetry Slam” at the Green Mill, she has been awarded two grants for the publication of her book, Dancing in Your Mother’s Skin (Tia Chucha Press), a collaborative work with photographer Alice Hargrave. She organized the annual National Poetry Video Festival for seven years with her own award-winning video poems airing on PBS, cable TV, and festivals around the nation.

Image: Bouquet of Summer by Aleksandr Glukhov (1974- contemporary). Watercolor and ink on paper. 32 x 33 inches. 2019. By free license.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprints Buttonhook Press, HOT BUTTON PRESS Contemporary Issues, and HIGH BUTTON PRESS Contemporary Art, supports writers and artists worldwide.

Follow O:JA&L on Facebook.

OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) recommends the services of Duotrope.