From: James Fleming
To: Mara Poliak, Maryanna Lachman, and Abby Crain’s Snake Talk (2016). CounterPulse, SF.
Dandelion [Rustic Oracle] [You are losing time] [Coquetry]; Mealy Sage [Domestic Virtue]; Chinese Mallow [Mildness]
am a snake to the queen
dense blue coated, calyx-toothed
with slim-gleam silver tongue
sunbeams are for kissing
she set in me a black ball of thread
gilt in kisses then.
so strange there the men
collecting content over form
yet dancers slither always through
and past the surfeit of space.
the stage more a medieval pattern poem
with edges frayed as dead and fallen leaves
that embroider this nest or burrow.
bouquets know that content is for liars,
if dewy morn then rid thine dewy fronds,
plied from alastor arms or smashed to bits on grided poems–
nevertheless never fearing the condemned cell
that is the living and the past.
am the mealycup
with eyes for eating light
with many pleated hands for to immure the keening in
keeping close this pile of blooms and clustered doe
engulfed in in-betweening.
am the mallow
oozing color really
flattered from form into folds of lichen:
a door, a bird, a molting braid
with devil’s milk-pail plumage
plucked and swallowed
loves me yet loves me not.
snakes oscillating in the sober bosom of earthlight
illapsing now through byzantine gray, cowper green,
and twinkling sturnidae plated on beds of twig and moss
there the nests of ambrosial oracles
for to eat to sleep to kiss to bleed
so they softly speak–