John Dennison

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Thinly yellow, and fibrous in the heat,
fennel is legion, rank beside the lines,
which shimmer, robing the air in a ferrous stink.
Flowchart rampant! The stalk, and then the branchings,
mnemonic of throughput and outcome, of progress
and its needling filiform leaf, the scent so hard
to shake. Do not consider the flowers, the seed
falling across the sleepers. There, sudden
between the tracks, a penetrative, metro-
nomic knocking from a torso-like box,
locked and knocking in the valley of your childhood.
O dark kernel, o burr of ambition,
remember the boy in his switch-flicking trance
in love not with the light, but with the switching.

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