The seed of the flower of death,
as small as a foxglove aphid,
plants itself in the loam of birth
to wind its roots and piercing stalk
through the lattice of our organs
until there’s no space left to burrow.
It’s only then that the bud bursts
our skin, to begin to unfurl
its dark petals — soft as new flesh,
reeking of the work of maggots —
about our oblivious selves.
When edges meet, we’re sealed away.
KEVIN GRAUKE has published work in such places as The Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, Quarterly West, Cimarron Review, and Ninth Letter. He’s the author of the short-story collection Shadows of Men (Queen’s Ferry), winner of the Steven Turner Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. He teaches at La Salle University in Philadelphia.
REBECCA PYLE, named at birth for Daphne du Maurier’s and Hitchcock’s masterpieces, Rebecca, is both writer and artist whose artwork and writing are in Fugue, The Chattahoochee Review, Muse/A Journal, JuxtaProse, The Menteur, Cobalt Review, The Hong Kong Review, New England Review, Gargoyle, The Kleksograph, and The Penn Review. Pyle has lived the past decade or two in Utah, not terribly far from the often cloud-draped Great Salt Lake and its many small islands continually hosting migrating birds. Her artwork has appeared on covers of over a dozen journals, and within many others.