You haven't felt the same about peonies since
hearing that the ants crawling over their buds
chew them open and cause them to bloom. Maybe
every beauty needs an incubus, a demon servant
behind the scenes. The maid-service slogan reads
“We work while you're at work.” All those mites
and fungi that patrol your paper-pale skin, prickle
your delicate ears: invisible servitors—of something.
Whose hands stroke your soft, milk-white pelage?
Who draws you under the cloud-cover of dreams?
Who will open you now with his insectile jaws?
Whose hyperbolic horns herald adventures to come?
The peonies linger as fragrant memories in the gold
chaos of late summer's burning sky, under its red sun.
F.J. Bergmann edits poetry for Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (sfpoetry.com) and Mobius: the Journal of Social Change (mobiusmagazine.com), and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. A Catalogue of the Further Suns, winner of the Gold Line Press chapbook contest, will appear in 2017.
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