Sticky False Apostle | Patrick Loafman

You were on your knees in a wet meadow among a million hungry plants. I was dancing with the warblers in the treetops, shouting at the sky. You called me down to the mud to examine one small pink flower.

Look, you insisted. I knelt beside you, pressed my eye to the hand-lens. Its purple stem filled my view. Each hair grew as large as a cedar trunk, tipped with a glittering orb of viscous fluid.

Smell. With eyes shut, my nose to a blossom the size of a ladybug, I inhaled a soft aroma, sensed a distant remembrance within that unknown fragrance.

The flower was unnamed but you were fluttering through pages of a plant book the way a bird preens its wings. Your pink lips pursed, a flower of its own and your soft scent…

We walked all day to arrive here, where sundews were trapping and digesting flies… plants in the bog hungry for nitrogen… our youthful flesh damp with sweat…

I opened my eyes and we were in a bed of sphagnum… thick and spongy… I opened my arms and felt as though I were in flight… the beating heat of our shared flesh.

Fog drifted in, sinking on top of us like a downy blanket… wetting the wings of the warblers in the firs…

I looked again and you were still ruffling pages of that book, licking the tip of your forefinger, blue eyes reaching for a name… my mind fluttering between blossoms… your scent and the plant’s mingling on my tongue.

The birds in the trees were calling my name, but gravity had won… years later I would say I had fallen that day… my wings clipped by your smile… my hollow bones filling with marrow.

Sticky false apostle, you said, and I knew it was asphodel but didn’t correct you as you pointed to more apostles, surrounding us as though they appeared because you uttered the name.

It was a distant bog… you were kneeling… a tiny pink blossom… a brief moment wedged like a sliver of cedar beneath my nail… warblers shouting for their son.

And I could no longer fly.

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The Night of the Iguana | Derek Pollard
Generations of Leaves | Taylor Graham
Three Poems | Patrick Loafman

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commentary | poetry | fiction | chicago | summer 2007