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  • Tyler Bauer

a sunflower soul vs. the devil in me

I see her,


in a field of wildflowers

with a coastal breeze

through hair the color of Kentucky bourbon

beaded earrings and fresh daisies

grass-stained sundress and fingers

like a canvas stroked full of

the brightest acrylic paint

I am in a factory full of silence and dirty metal

beaten into a dank submission by life

a spiked mallet to a bloody steak

like a drawing of shadows

made with scratches of charcoal

on torn paper

because the truth is

I haven’t found a single line of poetry

inside books I was told are

overflowing with it

while she can uncover poetry

in instruction manuals

and sex shop billboards

above Midwest cornfields

and truck stops

and roadkill

that pass by

through a window

on a cold Monday morning

in mid-February

with brake lights, and high beams

rolling over bridges coated in ice

from busted pipe dreams

but she is the smell of fresh mown grass,

chlorine, and bumble bees

when you stepped off the school bus

on the first day of summer

she tastes like pancakes and maple syrup

cooked on an old iron skillet under orange leaves

in late October

while I taste of

iron and beets



and dirt

the tastes that fill my mouth

as I run from her

because in the end

she is my only fear

but also

my only reason

for still being



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