The hollyhocks regulated the bees all up and down the fence line.
They were spoken by God according to the Bible. Let there be this.
Let there be that. Great whales. Strings of stars to mark the enveloping seasons. Hollyhocks.
They were sung from the slow white mouth of the sun, strung or strewn high as a man,
but the flowers—deep, fluid, flared out like cake ornaments, or the bells of small colorful churches
from June to frost. Stunned bells then. Stilled tongues. Dry stalks of pink and yellow torches
sapped of buzz and fire, lashed to the wire fence, as the Bible foretold—wind laced, wanting to lean,
until somebody noticed, on the way to the hayfield, and more or less mowed them out of mercy. [End Page 52]
Max Garland is a former rural letter carrier from western Kentucky and the author of The Postal Confessions and Hunger Wide as Heaven. Poems and stories have appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Best American Short Stories, and other journals and anthologies. He lives and teaches in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.