I plant a seed in my mouth.
To savor. Salivate.
veneer in hairline cracks, stripe
the shell. Emerging root in bald
white taps down
a throat to branch along the iron of veins.
An invasion of muscle memory.
A tributary to heart beat, a web
fed by artery. Sap rush. I’ll pull
stems upward with breath. Staccato
call of canopy. Branch and leaf.
Bark unwinds in sheaths
across torso. Wrist.
Thigh, and settles.
Age comes in rings, concentric
builds by blood or chlorophyll
flush. I cannot know which.
My eyes flood orchid. Ears, cusp for bees.
Petals plume in fingers of blue
flame. Centers pop. Unfurl in so many
white-flecked tongues. Slender
violet beaks. A few carry off
on my breath. Constant flux.
Others in cream white
lobe themselves open. Fans of fine
filament. Maroon, pin-thin.
Some die back to seed-head.
Jutting chins in zig-zag.
The overlap of furred scales
in ochre. Decline.
Stefanie Kirby is a bilingual mother and poet residing in the Colorado foothills. She studied poetry at Lighthouse Writers Workshop and has taught writing to middle and high school students. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Nightingale & Sparrow, MORIA Literary Magazine, and Ethel Zine.