This September on the southside of the city
in the dirt between old pasture and strip mall
a cacophony of yellow flowers open
brilliant lemon-gold gleaming in sunlight
filling the vacant lot beside the rodeo grounds.
Driving by I see a hand-painted sign for the Shrine circus
here where I last saw my father turn in
A year ago today he drove out into the world
to shake hands and smile beside elephants and camels,
trapeze artists and bellowing men with big mustaches.
He collected tickets that night at the gate to the big tent.
I had forgotten about yellow. Forgotten butter, autumn aspen
joy, the brass sheen on a cresting wave. Now I recall
my father’s circus.
Wild sunflowers bloom in the disturbed earth
Maximilian daisies in every ditch and abandoned lot
asters in every acre impacted by cattle, by roadway, by
the jackhammer of progress, beside bulldozers
I last saw my father turn in and park,
a sunflower in final bloom.