Mock Funeral, Petty’s Island
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
We covered her (sic) in soil clefted by sows not far from another lost daughter (sic), or if not a corpse precise, it was punched lace, bobbined in ol’ Ulster (grubby camber and never ’nough lamp to count knots).
If not buried, then broke with traditions seldom broached by fashion alone, or if not calcified entire, then enamel placketed to her (sic) bodice, hooked-and-eyed.
If not fabric a little careworn by boar brush, calved from a whelk sopping pigment, then caretook by color. If not dye concentrate, husk where rudiments did sob from its foot-fissure at low tide meringueing purple extract for extraction.
If not salt-knuckled, then knives face-out wheedling at the edge of lixiviation, clay atop clay atop silt long sifted by walleye we never—. Depressed sediment, or if not geology,
a single fist of dirt tossed over our left shoulder in lieu of salt, and if not angels, then sprites must attend our cobalt bolt (unharvested herb) without trumpets, without anthem, toward saltpeter or onionpeter, any Peter who spirals pre-blue froth to banish a name to gravestone.
If not, not. If so, so.
A cup of boneset spilled, thoroughwort running slipshod over uneven ground, leaves shot through with stem.
Last season, Gardener doffed his cap, downed a knee.
“Sorry I stunted the pear. I’m sorry for rust,
and the morning the pigeons got loosed.
But you’ll nevermore see the likes of apples
pinkening with such lust.”
They dismissed him for insolence and
welcomed a fresh Master Florist.
Ignorant of the work of turning earth,
he’s mastered taking shears to dainty necks.
Roses fall quick, lascivious.
Flirtatious dahlias yearn for beheading.
Bashful delphiniums spear themselves on wire.
Tulips bare all for a portrait.
A fling for Hollyhocks
and pornographic spree for Lilies.
Oh, corner Heather, sutured, clever,
hiding behind the smallness of your umbels,
imagining you’re protected.
Could Master be tender?
Clasp a veined hand to still the tremble?
She fears: thirst
weeping too much sap out the cut
loneliness, bees, sunburn
crickets hopped from Jerusalem.
Heather’s afraid she’s not beautiful enough for a bouquet.
I may be gruff. I may
be overrun with weeds and cough
in spring’s pollen haze. I will look naked
without these flowers.
Please, spare me.
with Gerberas and Asters.
Julian Mithra hovers between genders and genres, border-mongering and -mongreling. Winner of the 2023 Alcove Chapbook Prize, Promiscuous Ruin (WTAW, 2023) twists through labyrinthine deer stalks in the imperiled wilderness of inhibited desire. An experimental archive, Unearthingly (KERNPUNKT, 2022) excavates forgotten spaces.