Missing the Chicory

by Billy Reynolds

Nothing you’d stop for and bend down and lift
out of the dead grass and roadside trash,
these weedy stalks that rise out of the cracks
in curbs and bear these dullish purple blooms,
such a plain looking flower, such a bore,
every single one of them going nowhere,
blue sailors bungled by my first summer
in Michigan, the cracked windshield, the rusted floorboard,
a mile or two of fence line to trim, and all day
to cut down your wand-like stalks with my weed whack.
The nicknames alone can’t save us from obscurity.
It’s the backside that put the spell on, such delicate markings
like fetal ribs the ultrasound can’t capture,
or these contrails not stopping as they disappear
to parse the rhythms of lost and then found.

Billy Reynolds lives in Tifton, Georgia, where he is an assistant professor of English at Abraham Baldwin College. His poems and reviews have been published in CutBank, DIAGRAM, New Orleans Review, storySouth, and Third Coast, among others.