(Abrus precatorius family Fabaceae)
Abrus precatorius sounds like liturgical chanting: Precator sum, I pray, with bi-coloured rosary-strung peas. Or is it … confetti seed-strewn? Or maybe rhythmic rowing, the leaves and seed pods miniature paddles slurp-swashing. Or flying packages: olive-clayed cartouches to petition, contra-(re)ceptive. Or the leaves, the backs of thin thongs hung flapping in multiples, displayed to swell selling.
Seed pods are Tin-Tin-curlicued-tail-end. Tiny, headless, flattened rats. Or brown-furred stingrays body-commune clustered/held to the umbilical-cord stem, or nipple-joined and could-be-plucked, the tail pointing to the world with the leaves signal-flagging some soundless language something understands.
Seed is dark-chocolate haired above a toffee-coloured, featureless face, the single-roomed sheath of its pod home organza-curtained partitioned, potentialed for adornment-desired neck-lace or arm-cuff.
Flower: eyeless mole rats emerging blind. Before it blooms, the flower coming from its sheath-opening and a crawling insect face or, before that, a pointed/speared beak with unknown body. Flowering flesh-red, veal thin, fat marbled, flounced-capped or cloche-hatted. Stamens jellyfish-mimicking.
Beseeching vegetal being to purge, tone, recharge flesh and blood.
Moya Costello is an adjunct/casual lecturer, Southern Cross University. She has two collections of prose and two short novels published, and many scholarly and creative works in journals and anthologies. She has been awarded writing grants, fellowships and a residency from federal and state governments, Varuna, and Monash University.