Aliza said she found the poster in her parents’ basement or attic

and had it framed.

It is water damaged, I could see the brown stains

that reminded me of the brown stains

that fly across the sky and the country

and the playground and the face of the guy next door

with all the rifles.

We had that poster, too, in our apartment in 1970 and 1974 and 1980 and 1986,

carried it around to remind us what needn’t be reminded;

I don’t know when my parents got rid of it but it never left.

When I was a kid we all wore the button on our jean jackets

even when we fell off the monkey bars and the pin rammed into our chests.

We didn’t care; we were that kind of kid.

We wanted to do something important, be important,

show the world that Orange Crush was the joint soda

and Whacky Packs and Marvin Gaye were the joint soda

and we meant something.

We did and when I saw the poster in the frame on Aliza’s wall

I was upset that it was not on my wall for my children.

Sometimes your parents can give you something and you don’t even know it

until you know it

and then it’s yours.

In 1972 it was mine,

we were children and we were other living things—

lizards and mosquitoes, we were frogs and elephants and sycamore trees.

We were our sisters and our brothers and our neighbors

and you know what, we fucking knew it

because every night when we turned on the TV to watch Rocky and Bullwinkle

or Adam West as Batman

there was Dan Rather and Peter Jennings from Hanoi or the rice paddies of hell.

I am sad tonight

that I did not save the water damaged poster of that flower

which my parents hung on our walls,

that sketch made by Lorraine Schneider,

she died of cancer in 1972 and I miss her.

We all miss you Lorraine.

Our posters are stained brown now on these walls,

on the backs of our eyes like tattoos

and we give them to our children,

we say to them, here, take this flower,

it is for you.