Alessio and the Zinnias

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I’m currently working on a piece titled Zinnia, and as I do I return to James Merrill’s Alessio and the Zinnias. It’s a piece I refer to often and can never recall a single line from outside the ending where he writes, “never wear orange or pink.”—advice I’d rather ignore, an omen (I’d say good) as the astros head into the World Series. But I love the poem and went so far to reference it in one of my own works. I was in my twenties when that poem was published. I forgive that terrible decade.