Blooms Under Pressure
My body was designed to withstand
one atmosphere of pressure
and the weight of the deep sea
is holding me down at 64 lb/ft³,
at one atmosphere per meter descent.
Human bone will be crushed at 11,159 kg/in².
The heart is a much more fragile flower.
Orchids of varying color, shape, genera;
If yours is Arethusa, mine is Calypso
and you, like Odysseus, intend to depart.
You are always under pressure.
As if, that is, to say you should be used to it
and having not yet made sufficient complaint
you should accept and settle the weight
on your already burdened shoulders.
Everyone is under pressure, they say.
Cast off from the shallows to blue crush
I feel the weight of this condemnation
and they, at the surface, at one atmosphere,
gazing from the smooth glass ceiling
ask me to carry just one more thing.
do you feel the pressure on your silken petals
and pull them back to yourself, afraid to unfurl,
knowing the world would crush you
under atmospheres, under oceans?
I watch extraction videos on the internet
to convince myself impurities can be
removed – oh, god will I ever be clean
Wash me in lilac, in dew drop
in stump rot, in moss top.
Let me wear the decay;
let the shell of me reflect
the inner workings of this
soft wilderness underbelly.
Let me die with the autumn
to rise again triumphant
in unwearied, too-green spring.
There can be no life without
death, no growth without decay.
Show me an extraction
worth believing in.
The ocean on our first meeting
greeted me as a friend once lost
to current of time and drift migration:
mouthful of salt, shifting sand underfoot
and a handful of spray, green-white
like clover field, queen anne’s lace, hellebore.
A strange first reunion with a scraping
kind of strength, no soft-sworn parsing
of how-have- you-been or I’ve-missed- you-so,
the ocean is a body, warm like mine, yours,
just as part of me, as likely to carry me on.
On our first meeting, the ocean greeted me
as if to say:
why have you been gone so long?
In the carnivorous plant bog
sphagnum moss and pitcher plants
fallen crimson petals for
the prettiest girl you could find
tucked in folds forgotten
strawberry jam seeping
from out turned pockets
long moments spent watching
tufted songbirds vie for seeds
as if there is nothing else to see
snowdrops in beds of green
a reminder of a place that was
home and isn’t home anymore
I’m as home here in the moss