How to Talk to Anyone [poem] by Barbara Daniels

What’s the point of chitchat?
Like, who would want to? I turn
away, checking my phone.

Where I live, the yards are ragged,
red crepe myrtles blooming,
floppy hibiscus. I love
these plants like sisters,
smooth skins of their blossoms,
brave stamens, strong stems.

I wish I could speak to the dead.
They gather at the edge
of awareness, talking
among themselves, dressed
in their outdated clothes.

Ask for directions? That’s
a suggestion. And there’s always
the weather to talk about.
I could tell God to turn down
the heat, stop the late-day monsoons.

And you, stranger? Let’s talk about
flowers. Let’s talk about love and rain.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

Image by Sadasiv Swain

Barbara Daniels’ book Rose Fever: Poems was published by WordTech Press and her chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie SchoonerWomenArtsMid-American Review, The Literary Review, and many other journals. She received three Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.