Still Life

I slit the stem and slide my finger in the milkweed
the ooze smells of snake bites. The skin shrivels

with the buds dropping premature, petals seal
clutch a secret like a fetus she carries

and will not relinquish – there is death everywhere
if you care to see, detected in the marigold

filaments of black seeds tossed in the breeze.
She rocks on the stone warm against the thighs

dusk streaks her hair flares of roasted aubergine
the spine bent to lodge a dream turned into a rock

landscapes the contour that shifts, poisons the soil
so that she can soak up the earth in the act of freeing.

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