"A corpse flower"

"The addition of not"

Jessie Jones

Jessie Jones grew up in the prairies, spent a decade on Vancouver Island and now resides in Montreal. Her writing has been featured in CV2, filling Station, Lemonhound, Minola Review, PRISM, The Puritan, Arc, B O D Y, and Poetry London (UK). She has been shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award, Editor’s Choice in Arc’s Poem of the Year prize, and first-runner up PRISM’s Poetry Award. Nix, her first chapbook, was published by Desert Pets Press in 2017. She is the founder of Literistic, and her first poetry collection will be available in fall of 2020.

www.jessiejones.ca

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"'A corpse flower' is based on several time-lapse videos on YouTube of corpse flowers blooming in the summer of 2016. Previous to that summer, only 50 blooms had been recorded in the history of cultivation—but suddenly, dozens bloomed within weeks of each other."

"The addition of not' takes its title from the artist's statement accompanying Sarah Meyohas's video art piece Cloud of Petals, which digitized 10,000 individual rose petals."

A corpse flower

 

is blooming

in the Bronx.

 

The smell makes men weep

for their stupid, loose skin.

 

Carrion
on the seasonal balm

like a body on a wave

 

while bodies
in the waves
at the city beach
peek over pavlova suds

with daffy little

 

sucks of breath. The sun bleaches

and makes radiant
the ribcage.

Such effort
to surface
and resurface

our gamy frames,

near ridiculous.

 

In bloom all
over North America,

a nightmare
at the heart
of botanical gardens.

 

The skirt lifts
for the pinball eyes
of tourists, spadix

stately as a centurion.

 

A rouged broom.
A near-perfect specimen

of death,

which is to say:

continual and colourful.

No one way.

The large all small

and cognizant

when we are one.

 

If two, the bridge comes down.

 

Zero loves me not
and the dog park howls.

 

The sky fills

with a whipped

white wind.

 

In binary,
we are off, two
life preservers bumping

bellies in a viscous bath.

 

Insert minus
and it empties.
The drain gargles jelly.

 

To be more, I dig
with only my signature

until I locate
the root of one.

 

A beam of light

like paradise.

 

To be counted

is the love of me

entirely.

 

The cross-eyed prize

of two.

 

From a head of zeroes

I select a petal
for its perfect shape

and colour and texture.

 

A sequin without reflection,

a face flashes in me now.

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