I thought it a
the kind you find at the dentist's under
a plaque of receding gums: it has
dusty oblong leaves and a woody, stripy
stemI've had it, oh, for years
in my study, forget sometimes to water it
yet it lives. But just last night
the room gave off a scent so puissant,
so lushly-sweet I thought it a dead mouse
or my son smoking pot but no, it was
the plant in blossoma
single shoot with
six spiky pinkish-white blooms
and globules of gummy juice between as if
it would suck me up if I tried to pick it!
By morning the scent was gone.
I turned to my old keep.
But then at dusk it filled the whole house
as though I'd been plunged in
a jungle jammed with Easter lilies. I
stood there amazed. Was I dreaming? No,
I could feel the pinch, I was inching up
sedge and bristle,
skin thickening, hair sticky with rain
and the most incredible thing:
my head suddenly split into milky buds
like a dozen plaited snakes!
I yawned in the dark like a cat unwinding
out of its daytime nap, rubbing and rubbing
and rubbing its bulk against the moon,
embedding its smell in the clouds,
in the clayrazing the night.