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Wild Sweet William, a poem by Zachary Dankert

Wild Sweet William 

I am trying to caution you 

to the change in the weather, but 

you are preoccupied

pressing black-eyed susans so
tightly into a book 

there is no air left for the future

You are always doing this, I remember 

last June, bergamot in my 

coffee pot in the waist 

of your pants

Flicking through page after 

page of specimen 

I asked, “what is the 

desired outcome?” and you 

stepped outside, returned fists

full of New England aster

Instead of writing I 

daydream geraniums, your fingertips pressing

them through my eye sockets

It was not so hard before, 

when I gathered 

refuge under your thumb which 

pressed sunday mornings closed


with melancholy 

made reluctant

before you noticed the 

first bulbs beyond the fence

In my half 

of the study, and sit down to write, but 

I can’t resist calling “there are only 

so many flowers 

a man can press” 

Next year when bundles of compass plant 

are stored in the pantry, I remark caustically

how odd it is to live in a temple 

preserving corpses

you repeat 

into your pillow 

their scientific names, testing 


I stand 

in the doorway 

watching you in the garden,

a prophet plucking penstemon seed heads 

In the breeze disturbing 

meadow sedge is 

our first fall of 


our future 


cone flower 



young golden 


wild sweet William 

Zachary Dankert is a creator living on unceded Miami territory known as Indianapolis, IN. His published work can be found in Tofu Ink Arts Press, West Trade Review, and Vita Poetica, among others. His goal in life is to write a single funny poem.