Poetry

Communis

Photo courtesy of Ryan Canlas.

The honeysuckle’s taste went white down our backs. Grass became soft bones and sun. We searched without knowing it for a sense of a collective. The pollen glossed our skin and we tongued it while the three suns wetted our vision, the blaze of an ocean, the wake of a patriarch whose skin was an earth. Imago. Diaspora.

She said, “Think of the concrete and how different it seems over here.” The parlor was a frozen draft that echoed with mahogany and gray. The silk was a cord hewn by many, strung by hand, the membranes of larvae. She said, “Look at them. Do you remember when we tried to make the gumamela live with the cold.” The clusters of philodendron contained in their reach. She said, “You can cut a leaf and it’ll grow in water.” I tasted the sea there along a row of rust and brown knee caps and scabbed shins, the squatter’s village just outside the walls, their tropical eaves, the cortege of powdered milk and jasmine.

Back home we hatch the flies incepted in that land. When they were unborn they writhed, petals quivering in a breeze. In the drinking glass roots will grow. The stars are many but there are still among them three. The grass is bones and shroud. Scent unable to multiply, homologies distributed and structured as a swarm of diptera. The wilted fingers unflowered grasp at the chill. She brought a fan made of palm leaves home. The creak of the handle disturbs a white-edged cloud in the winter.

The insects alight. But here, on what carrion. That we would brood a mantis to eat them. The flight carries the ardor of a feast. And I touch the snow-mantled cement. The perfumed calyx lodged between teeth.

Ryan Canlas lives in Las Vegas, NV where he teaches English, literature, and creative writing.
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