By Jeff Knorr
Featured Art: Sarina’s Flowers by Sarina Winner, Nancy Dick, Wendy Minor Viny
But not just any night,
on the 26th floor of the New Otani Hotel
the night of your aunt’s wedding
your new uncle and I threw centerpieces,
beautiful flowers in glass volleyball-sized
vases out of the window of their hotel room
in downtown L.A. We dropped them, in
amazement, the air flattening petals of roses,
the baby’s breath. They blew out
like cannon balls on the sidewalk—
flowers, soil, Styrofoam, glass. Ten times
we could have killed someone with one of those
centerpieces, our drunkenness—
it could have been over as soon as it started.
Your aunt’s anger flared hot as a brand.
We could be wearing the same prison orange.
I escaped some wild death, manslaughter
by wind, by stupid luck, but you on the other hand
drive the car through our neighborhood,
stop for a cigarette with friends, have brown skin–
you ride, get pulled over, the cops
looking for you and your brothers.
Jeff Knorr is the author of four books of poetry, including The Color of a New Country, The Third Body, Keeper, and Standing Up to the Day. Jeff was the Poet Laureate for the city and county of Sacramento from 2012-2016. He lives in Sacramento, California and is Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Sacramento City College.