One summer I sold flowers on a street corner.
It was Arizona and the sun converted
the crust from my northern bones
into orange smoothies and halter tops.
I skateboarded in the park
and forgot the language of snow.
With each bouquet I hawked,
my hair grew blonder and wilder,
the sun a drama queen
turning my skin into a fading
remembrance of winters past
until I owned that street corner.
Bright carnations and daisies,
a whisper of baby’s breath and fern,
the bundles flew into car windows—
a quick gift for grandma,
husbands hoping to bury mistakes,
hospital errand duties—
impulse buying in a fast food world.
I lived in a shady apartment
above a thriving jazz club
with Jeannie who read palms
and took her bible to bed,
two windblown transplants
eager for adventure.
We discovered Nina and Billie
and the syncopation of women.
We hung out with life that summer,
tasted dangers our mothers warned us about,
paving a new path to adulthood
and flourishing in that culture
where even the cactus bloomed,
beautiful and temporary
like dust dancing through sunshine.