Shifting Paradigm by Helen Losse

The idea was to test a sound hypothesis.
They didn’t tell us what that hypothesis was.

When springtime grass began to green,
they marched us out to count the flags,
the gifts of small, red flowers
that adorned soldiers’ graves.

All day we counted, recorded
onto light green tally sheets.
Flags & flowers.  Flowers & flags.
In the evening, they marched us back.

They weren’t cruel to us—just scientific—
and as they began to serve us a hot meal,
we went back to being what we were: children.
Poppies were the only, actual touchstone

in a shifting paradigm.  But still we
couldn’t eat our whole, regular portions.
We just couldn’t.
We were thinking of Grover Pinky—

our beloved white rabbit—
newly dead in the kitchen drawer
that sad day in May.  As the albino rabbit
was placed in the dark ground

in the dim light of a cold moon
under drifting clouds that blackberry winter,
in that quiet place under a thicket of blossoming
brambles, we erected no marker as reminder.

Instead, we favored anonymity, uncounted shadows,
letting cumulous clouds float on by,
knowing anything tells the real story better than
flags and flowers, no matter what your hypothesis is.

This poem was first read for and presented to S. A. Griffin The Poetry Bomb in Hickory, NC on May 22, 2010.

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5 Responses to “Shifting Paradigm by Helen Losse”

  1. Helen Losse is the author of Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) and two poetry chapbooks, Gathering the Broken Pieces, available from FootHills Publishing, and Paper Snowflakes, published by Southern Hum Press, and the Poetry Editor of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She has recent poetry publications or acceptances in Blue Fifth Review, Main Street Rag, Heavy Bear, The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Hobble Creek Review, Referential Magazine, and Iodine Poetry Review.

  2. Thank you for including my poem with this fine group.

  3. […] “Shifting Paradigm” has been included in “10 Memorial Day Poems” at Rusty Truck. Pages […]

  4. Excellent poem, Helen. One of your best.

  5. […] me point you also to Helen Losse’s excellent Memorial Day poem “Shifting Paradigm” at Rusty Truck, along with their nine other Memorial Day […]

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