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Friday, September 15, 2017

Taxus brevifolia

Andrew Curtis, "Yew berries in
the snow, Close House
," 2010

An aril—that drop of blood
in the green—is scale made
flesh: enticements for the
varied thrush, a yew seed’s
slated transport. All these
leavings of mine, and fewer
birds to sing our notes out
past the mountain; so many
departures, before a winter
storm buries that last fruit.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Leaving

Robert Hamilton, "The History of British Fishes,
Four Stages of a Fish," Wellcome Library, London

We’d start at the ending, that
muddy old mouth, picking our
way back to before the womb,
laddering up braided streams
where hatchlings clear as glass
(but for yolk sacs still attached)
fed on lacewings, on damselfly
eggs. How it goes is how it went:
parents who’d never wandered
upstream would tell us, their
children, stories full of harbor
silt—so cloudy, opaque, hiding
snags. We’d listen just until the
silver exhalations of meltwater
would find us. Then we’d be off,
climbing, to follow that scent.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Dehiscence

Emily, "Harvesting Poppy Seeds," 2012

1.
We’re seamed, as are seedpods, our lines
of dehiscence marked with a tailor’s chalk,
our pale raphes the memory of how we’ve
been stitched together. When a pod’s ripe,
a split occurs. Or when wounds don’t heal.

2.
Remembering the blush pink poppies, now
all dry, dehiscent rattles—the wind shakes
their prayer for a rainy season into the clay.

3.
The crocus has mistimed itself, tossing dull
blades up from the dark, greening them in
the heat. But we’ve not missed our season—
almost ripe, now, ready for another kind of
transformation, waiting for a wind to come.