Luke Taylor Gilstrap

Luke Taylor Gilstrap
1 Poem


At the Farmer’s Market

I bought a bouquet of Irish poets.
Their bent sienna blossoms shaded
the news that wrapped them. Deadly

Bombing in Kabul. Her sweaty palm.
Her other almost touched my own
when I gave her some change. I had

reached farther down the stems,
where legs were, and an arm—when
life has become a game of chance,

a routine: sweeping broken glass
and calling others—split all the way
down, like a tectonic fault,

still bleeding. Like so many things,
I didn’t deliver these flowers.
I didn’t come through. I couldn’t

keep their heads from sinking in
time for you to meet them. The news,
now, is all that’s left to hold. But can

I tell you how bright they were,
how fragile, how perfectly timed?
Would you believe me?

That faded, thin, incapable shell,
could never, not long, not always, hold
a flower so windswept and free.


Luke Taylor Gilstrap earned his MFA at Seatle Pacific University and teaches writing and English literature at Sterling College. He is the co-founder of the Wingdings Writers’ Workshop and founder of the Cabin Fever Writers’ Workshop, both based in Wichita, Kansas, where he lives with his wife and son.