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Sandra Beasley
POETICS
 
Orchis

Imagine having one good leg and keeping
your ovary in it.  You grow tired.  You grow
fickle.  You grow on corpses. 
You are secretly excited when trees catch fire. 
Your mother lives in New Guinea and weighs a ton. 
In the cloud forests of Costs Rica your smallest sisters
mutter Bite me through purple lips seen only
with a magnifying glass.  In the 1800s,
scientists claimed you could not be grown in a lab;
so you did, just to spite them.  Now
every year brings some humiliating study
on the aunt who reeks of carrion, or the uncle
in the Yunnan who won’t stop fertilizing himself.
You swear you won’t be another table pet.
Sometimes at the Farmer’s Market
a woman with yapping dogs looks at you
and all you can do is droop.  God, no.
You dream sometimes of Greece, two legs,
the festival where you drank too much wine.
When the priestess said Come here you came.
When she said Stop you kept coming.  The guests
made a red circle around you.  They grabbed your hair,
your arm, chanting, your other arm, pulling,
clawing the skin until it surrendered from muscle,
the unbearable tearing, and you wake—
unable to scream with your lush, exploded tongue.

 


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