Beauty After the Storm, Rae Clickenbeard

Before even the hum of bees

came the seed pod of a magnolia tree.

It probably tumbled out of some space rock

in a moment both destined and wrong,

an alien artefact encrusted with ritual blood.

At Earth’s first hazy kiss it erupted

suckering tentacles shot out

and tore into loam, limestone.

It anchored to our planet tenderly:

the immovable ache of a fresh piercing,

a leech on an unsuspecting host.

Twenty million years later,

I stand across the street

to watch the gleaning of evening light

on its fat cellophane leaves,

to breathe its spidersilk flowers

doused with cheap lemon perfume.

Hypnotized, I am pulled

into my neighbor’s lawn

and touch the scales of the beast,

each notch an intuition of loss

of a distant forgotten home,

the way my father’s first language

scraped a cacophony in my ear

but meant nothing.

I rise through its backbone

and for once in our lives, we rest.

We embrace like the teeth of a zipper.

About the Author

Lenna Mendoza · Rice University

 Lenna Mendoza is pursuing an English major with a Creative Writing concentration at Rice University. Her work has appeared in plain china once before“Magnolia” originally appeared in R2: The Rice Review.

About the Artist