Janus’s Favorite Flower (Opioid Crisis)


Janus’s Favorite Flower (Opioid Crisis)

Today I tried a poppy seed muffin
It tasted of Florida orange and almond extract
and I spit it out because the word sweet
could not be found anywhere in my vocabulary
Next I tried an everything bagel from the corner deli
where the little white cat sits on top of boxes of Coors Lite
It was laminated in an amalgam of black poppy and white sesame
The first bite tasted like malt and 7 AM New York rush hour
but there was a lingering aftertaste of
acrid melting asphalt and so I spit that out too

My uncle grew red poppy flowers in
the garden behind his summer house in Oakland
Each blossom was coated in ruby liquor with
a stygian inkstain in the very center
I used to think that they were rather pretty
but then I remember when the state seized his house
and my uncle was left sitting on the cold
pavement with just two blue suitcases
He showed up at our house one night
with the skin on his face barely stretching over his skull
and a prescription bottle tucked into his shirt pocket
And I think I’ve never hated a flower more

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