“Mitosis” by Amanda Blue Gotera

Amanda Blue Gotera


When things have bloomed, my mother
teaches me to hunt out the dead
blossoms that are no longer veined
and furled open but coiled dryly
over floret and anther, delicate threads
in withered prayer.

Daughters learn the ritual twist of neck
on stem, how easily a pattern
can be broken. They learn to tear
from the seam, to expose green
and play the trick so each may partake
a little longer in the nectarine pages
of lily, of stamen, of every sweet thing.

You must pluck our papery
skins before we go to seed,
before we repeat ourselves completely.
Partial helix. Idle spindle. We do not
wholly fill our rhythms. Instead
we must don our lip-thin petals again
and again, shed our weathered slips or else
bear that promised tithe.

We come apart and apart
and relive the same season
the same false spring.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005
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