Outside, the artichoke is in purple,
spiky bloom. We feel the blossom, test
its heft, how it rounds in on itself,
protective. The ancients knew
how to push past fortifications,
past hardened armor. They knew
to scrape the stingy meat off each
lizardy scale. Ruthless, they taught us
to cut out its last attempt at inviolability,
that ring of thorns. Still, we boil
them, suck down each hard won
bite demanding our attention, our love.
I searched for serenity, planted it
in the middle of my garden—
fountain, pebbly schist underfoot,
cloth canopy to shade my table.
Sometimes I yearn for the old way,
fear going on like this forever.
Still, my home remains,
walls, lamp I bought
before I had a room to hang it in,
and think, what have I lost?
Sex, friend, partner, ballast?
The ancients had a story for this.
It began with a beautiful girl, ended
in botany. Along the way, lust,
hunger, homesickness, revenge. Every
emotion except one. Stranded
here, I spread into the sandy soil,
dig knife and fork past all embankments
and burrow to the resistant heart.
Bellevue Literary Review