Mair Allen :: “In Spike, In Bloom”

The edges of the orchids’ frilled petals ripple. 
Thrilled. It lives a little. Until. 

Did you ever kill an orchid? Of course I did. 

Did you love it? Obviously. Oh—The killing? 
Or the thing itself?

Would it be wrong to say yes to everything? 
I filled the window with plants and my love

said it was too much, but it was me

who let them dry up. I didn’t know
how to care for so many at once, they all 

under saturated and me, over committed. 
Have your plants ever gotten gnats?

No, I love them with benign neglect. 

And the yellow flowers tremble at that. 
Not you though. Feel how

absorbent the moss, 
how rich the thick chipped bark. This all

will hold your vellum roots. I will 
love you different. Here, a bottle of mist. 

Here, a silver bowl of spring fed water 
for soaking on Sundays. 

I have never loved anything

like I love your tender petals. I will learn
to care on time, in time, for you. 


Mair Allen is a writer living in Minneapolis, MN. A current MFA candidate at Antioch University, their work can be found in Hooligan Mag’s Spilled Ink feature, Griffel, Kithe, Oroboro, and Aurora. They were the 2020 Mikrokosmos Poetry Prize winner, and placed second in the 2021 Penrose Poetry Prize. Their prized plant is a vanilla orchid that just sent out a second vine. When not writing they can be found.