in the sunflowers, with their little flame skirts of God

I remember that summer
playing ping pong with you
in a clean madhouse

in which you were confined
and wondering,
“Do I have to let him win?”

It was back in the days
when they dressed you
in funny bathrobes,

and insist you make
collages of your feelings,
hang them near the ceilings.

There were always
cheap Van Gogh repros
from K-Mart on the walls

up and down the halls,
but never the good ones
like the bloodied ear

or the times where
V.’s face turned into stars
as he screamed blue spirals.

It was always the sunflowers (or like that).
But you said you weren’t fooled.
You knew that’s what he fell under

when the bullet went in
and failed to do its job
so miserably.

That had something to do
with the reason
you were there.

You always said
his last painting
should have been under them,

looking up
to show how easily
they turned their faces

up, up and away

towards the fire

that drives the day.

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