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.