Two by Flower Conroy


The shell’s tomb, the materials breathe.
The darkness of matter is bottomless.
–Aase Berg

Perhaps in 1839 Johann Jakob von Tschudi meant to crown you blunt mouth. Did you know the symbol ℞ descends from Jupiter & is abbr. Latin for Recipe which in turn meant take thou? Neoteny regenerator. Ideal human model. Water monster. Of tiger. Not apex predator cat or Victorian slang for prostitute—but rarest salamander with poppy seed eyes.  Found only in one complex of lakes, one of which no longer exists. If noon’s the vortex hour where Poseidon anagrammed into poisoned & marsupial into I am a slurp then anagram reinvented itself into a rag man. Meanwhile you just float timorous carnivorous in your bath, sorta smiling—as if you’ve got this primitive streak business all figured out—hypnotic buoy. You’ve a Sea Monkey Cum Cabbage Patch Kid verisimilitude to you that makes me think of that extraterrestrial & chimpanzee couple holding their hybrid alien-monkey (human) baby. (Where’d you think we came from?) To’ve syntax & imagery work in equal measures. Like the spirit of the staircase glancing over its chilled shoulder. Or the threat display of a devil’s flower mantis. 


So I’ll be wed in the Church of the Holy
Incestuous Mushroom?
–Silvia Moreno-Garcia

To detect such designs, however, is not necessarily to understand them. Why do we prize rarity & not its cousin, deformity? The arbitrary unmasked is the occult science of aesthetics. Filament to stitch the tear in heaven shut. Sometimes the only way to please a deity is disbelief. For you breathe, slip of chromosome, chosen one, you serve as example of the impossible made possible stepping into the god particle light. I speak of the uncanny valley, wheat cake & whelk brewing between your must reeking pages—wattle. Don’t stew. Rake the leaves off the concrete sidewalk so the pathways from the saber-toothed to the throat radiate. Unencumbered usher us slightly wounded toward wreckage uncalled-for. How to cope—this daily barrenness, its hot polish?  I bleed you gill-side on a piece of paper; white spore print telltale sign you’ll kill me. Destroying Angel, it’s best to leave you unmolested. 


LGBTQ+ artist, NEA and MacDowell Fellow, and former Key West Poet Laureate, Flower Conroy’s the author of Snake Breaking Medusa Disorder (winner of the NFSPS’s Stevens Manuscript Prize), A Sentimental Hairpin (a Small Press Distribution bestseller), and Greenest Grass (or You Can’t Keep Killing Yourself & Not Expect to Die) (winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry prize, forthcoming 2022). Her/their poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, American Literary Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, and others.