Wildflower Choir

Give us an hour or give us a day
to bloom. We have so little time.

We grow out of the landscape’s open mouth,
rising out of its ankles, its great granite wrists
—from the scars on its chest, we burst.

And when we do, we come from everything we can:
broken skull of the calf bleached out white in the light,

dark deer droppings the color and texture of grapes,
plastic bottles and burger wrappers left by the side of the road.
We feel such thirst, desiring. In a short time, we spread:

our song the chorus of a few making millions of us
in one wet April week. New profusion of us

filling ditches and fields for a thousand square miles.
Give us a little more time to live, and we will.
Leave a patch of dead grass near the highway for us,

and we promise to thrive without any complaints—
in this Texas humidity we crave—until summertime comes.


J. Scott Brownlee is a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at NYU, where he teaches poetry to undergraduates and second graders through the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, RATTLE, Ninth Letter, Nashville Review, BOXCAR Poetry Review, Front Porch, Pebble Lake Review, Birdfeast, South Dakota Review, THRUSH, and elsewhere. Involved with several literary journal start-ups, he was the managing editor and co-founder of both Hothouse and The Raleigh Review. A Pushcart Prize nominated poet-of-place, Brownlee writes primarily about the people and landscape of rural Texas. His book-length work, County Lines, was recently named a semifinalist for the 2012 University of Wisconsin Press Brittingham Prize. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.