By Allie Marini Batts:
breeding, trumpet flowers out of the dead ash
a cautious unfurling, petals, these fragile fingers,
extended through layers of silt and salt,
the battle-blown lands where once a city stood.
these vines, they labor furiously,
expanding and dividing beneath the dust of nations
nightshades in mitosis, their toxins lovely, bright and narrow
set against a land destroyed.
likewise myself and my skin,
a playground for dead things
and invasive plants to rise from,
a phoenix, in botany.
the mythology of the night skies
you were once a man
square but bright
incense in the dark
your story, told by Greeks
naïve, the way we
lit sticks of incense and prayed
wantonly to false hopes and square gods
and stars, naïve offerings
and devotions meant to keep us safe
protections and punishments
remembered in the
rotations of the planet
naïve, how we thought
you loved us
and would keep us safe
“breeding, trumpet flowers out of the dead ash” previously appeared in quarter after and “the mythology of the night skies” previously appeared in Symmetry Pebbles. These poems appear here today with permission from the poet.
Allie Marini Batts holds degrees from both Antioch University of Los Angeles and New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor for the NonBinary Review and Zoetic Press, and has previously served on the masthead for Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review & Press, and The Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of the poetry chapbooks, You Might Curse Before You Bless (ELJ Publications, 2013) Unmade & Other Poems, (Beautysleep Press, 2013) and This Is How We End (forthcoming 2014, Bitterzoet.)
Editor’s Note: “breeding, trumpet flowers out of the dead ash” is so stunning that the poem speaks for itself. I am loathe to feature a favorite line in the face of so many beautifully wrought images emerging one after another. The subject matter is as rich as the soil the poem’s flowers rise from. The world revealed is post apocalyptic, brimming with nature’s resilience and with death nurturing new life, “a phoenix, in botany.”
“the mythology of the night skies” turns our eyes upward to the heavens and our minds to the gods. While pressing against the idea of worship in antiquity, the poem’s echo seems to question deity worship altogether. “naïve, how we thought / you loved us / and would keep us safe.”