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Joan Grisetti

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The Flower Shop

Mrs. Hana-san names all the flowers for me, in Japanese. She is an older woman, and loves company. Once Mrs. Hana-san gives me a carnation because I sniff it so long. Mother gives Kusan money every week to buy flowers for our table. I love to go with her and help to decide. Each flower has a best length, a best place in the arrangement. They talk to Kusan and tell her where they want to be placed. I listen, but they never talk to me.

tantalizing
the strength of clouds
  on a lazy day

Close to our house ran a main thoroughfare, running from the river up to the top of the mountain behind our house. On this street, I walked uphill one block to the playground, or downhill two blocks to the flower shop. I passed it every day to and from school. On warm days with the main doors propped open, I could smell the shop at least a block away. Even on cold days with the door shut tight, the cloy scent of jumbled flowers hung over the street.

commercial streets
the harmonies and melodies
  of morning