Bouquet Garni

by Jose Oseguera

Echinacea, patchouli, and sage:
Flower bomb diffused
From the porous braids of your straw hat,
Bouncing sun drops as we walked.

It was windy,
The pompadour sitting on my head — 
A crow roosting, flapping its wings
Ready to fly into forces uncaring
Of her exposed nest:
Blue twine, twigs, twisted ticket stubs
To Air Supply’s reunion tour at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills;
Carrying the yoke on her empty bones
Of the eggs, once whole, warm under her,
Cracked muddy scum
Yellow on the pavement
Seconds after she flew off —

Smelled tepid of hair sap,
Oil drooping down the strands.
“It’s just me,” you said,
Eating cough drops for lunch
To disguise a scent
I wish I could laugh off
As people do at parodies of Jesus — 
Your wounded head, hitchhiker thumbs
You hide like buttons in your pockets.

I caught a red balloon with the corner of my eye
As it escaped, up and away from her little,
Outstretched, wiggling fingers — 
Bobbing joyfully-lifeless in the wind,
Making it seem within reach — 
As if she could make the air do as she pleased
And capture once again the one thing
That would never return:

How you wanted everything tied neatly with a string;
Whether a knot attached around your wrist
Would have made him stay
Or pulled things farther away.
Racking my mind with currents that others
Won’t know the what and how
Of what you share with those you don’t trust;
As when you pretend that I’m air — 
Suck me in, spit me out — 
Get angry at me only so that we can
Have something to talk about,
And waste the day — 
Thyme, lady’s mantle, horehound — 
Ignoring my trampled essence
Gritted tightly in your teeth,
Bundling away the us
From each other in each other.

I raked my hair with my fingers
As we walked past the little girl and her mother.
I smiled for their loss;
You tongued the holes of your palate:
They simply looked away and continued to walk.


Jose Oseguera is an LA-based writer of poetry, short fiction and literary nonfiction. Having grown up in a diverse urban environment, Jose has always been interested in the people and places around him, and the stories that each of these has to share; those that often go untold. His work has been featured in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Rigorous, Sky Island Journal, Jelly Bucket, OTHER. Magazine, TOE GOOD, The Scene & Heard Journal, The Inquisitive Eater, and Authorship by The National Writers Association.