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All By Myself I Am a Huge Camellia

Some days no one is my mother

but my mother. & my mother is no

longer a distance that cinches itself—

the flush on flush of the new

fever, the baby’s first floral-

heat nursed down—with a telephone

call. I could not gather, could not

collect your voice in fits

in tinder in sleep. So the flowerbeds:

empty. The endless ringing: all hesitation,

no digging. I wake to bury

you again, stumbling

for the rotary receiver on its vine—

swinging from the wall of a house

I left burning-small: votive

light throwing off no sound.

In the yard the petals all flame

& lantern. In the crib

my daughter moro-s herself

in heartbeat cycles, limbs sparked

apart with shock. The smoke of us both

rises: like a moon: like a pulse. & I am

alone in our surveillance, our time-

lapsed fevering burst into a single bloom

: the resurrected echo-light of your ambulance

dissolving through the walls.

from Little Envelope of Earth ConditionsFind more by Cori A. Winrock at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cori A. Winrock
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Cori A. Winrock Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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