Lilies strain from the mouth
of the vase by the window, open
their throats to the sky, stretching
toward the accumulation of clouds,
furred stamens powdered red
as starling’s blood. The shadows
of the room, the scent of
perfume heavy as tomorrow’s end
held in stasis for seven steady
days as stems collapse in secret
and leaves transmute to slime.
In this world of sorrow and of loss
all things must fail, must come to moss
and murder, must disintegrate
in damp and dust. And we must
open our throats, and swallow.
About the Author: Ruth Bavetta’s poems have appeared in North American Review, Nimrod, Rattle, Slant, American Journal of Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.
at the Huntington Library we trekked toward the tussled little squares of horehound licorice lavender mignonette and heliotrope waiting impatiently like overgrown graves with bamboo souls hovering mid-trellis dance for people like us who strolled on occasion when the weather was just right past the tearoom into the Herb Garden sustenance of thumb and forefinger rubbing like grasshoppers’ legs to release the scent of garlic chive and lemongrass even lovage borage or sometimes marjoram such funny words that seem to rub together now and release the memory of a time when my children had no interest in the predictability of roses preferring again and again the chaotic clusters of sweet alyssum which I’ve come to learn means worth beyond beauty
About the Author: Candice Kelsey teaches writing in the South. Her poetry appears in Poets Reading the News and Poet Lore among other journals, and her first collection, Still I am Pushing, explores mother-daughter relationships as well as toxic body messages. She won the 2019 Two Sisters Writing’s Contest and was recently nominated for both a Best of the Net and a Pushcart. Find her at www.candicemkelseypoet.com