“Because You Left Me a Handful of Daffodils” by Max Garland
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
Because You Left Me a Handful of Daffodils
I suddenly thought of Brenda Hatfield, queen of the 5th grade, Concord Elementary. A very thin, shy girl, almost as tall as Audrey Hepburn, but blond. She wore a dress based upon the principle of the daffodil: puffed sleeves, inflated bodice, profusion of frills along the shoulder blades and hemline. A dress based upon the principle of girl as flower; everything unfolding, spilling outward and downward: ribbon, stole, corsage, sash. It was the only thing I was ever Elected. A very short king. I wore a bow tie, and felt Like a third-grader. Even the scent of daffodils you left reminds me. It was a spring night. And escorting her down the runway was a losing battle, trying to march down among the full, thick folds of crinoline, into the barrage of her father's flashbulbs, wading the backwash of her mother's perfume: scared, smiling, tiny, down at the end of that long, thin, Audrey Hepburn arm, where I was king.
from The Postal Confessions, 1995
University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA
Copyright 1995 by Max Garland.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing. Copyright 2004 by Katia Kapovich. For further permissions information, contact Chris Hamilton-Emery, Salt Publishing, P.O. Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge, CB1 5JX UK, [email protected].
About the Poet
Max Garland is the author of two poetry collections, including Hunger Wide as Heaven (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2006). Garland served as the Wisconsin Poet Laureate from 2013-2014. A first generation college student, Garland left a ten-year career as a mail carrier to pursue his love of poetry.
Learn more about Max Garland at The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.