Defender of Marigolds

Do I poison you into the world?
Rock-salt mind that keeps
a steady burn, poisoned
with more than salt—smoke

fear, invisible taint. What do we call 
these poison-children? Defenders of Men?  
Defenders of Earth? Defenders of Sky?  
Go boldly! We whisper, stars move 

further still away, unseen 
for smoke that turns the night 
forever bright. Your doorstep, 
pile of ash. Go boldly!  

You press against disease after disease
bodies fall to the street, rest where they lay 
that new gardens sprout of bone, marigold
seeds grow (or do not grow) where they fall.

Go boldly! I have no taste for futuring you 
into a world so sick. Still, the sky pities itself, 
gusts at my door, demands:
Open! The world is in need.

Goes boldly, opens me, seeds grow
(or do not grow) where they fall.  
Clustered, undeterred, sunshine-ruddy faces 
breathe what they breathe

drink what they drink
poisoned, shining 
this precious world 
in need.

Evelyn Gill (she/her or they/them) is a queer gardener, bird-watcher, poet, and psychiatric nurse practitioner living in northwest Washington with her spouse and dog. She writes poetry out of need to create beautiful things and explore the often baffling world within and around her. Find Evelyn on Instagram @evelyngillpoetry.

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