Still Life with Bloom & Reverse Reproduction

The day the world lay still the girl
                eats flowers at the Federal Horticultural Show: 

dandelion like a pollen-dipped lemon, 
               tiger lily like a sugar-drop dream. Half

-mossed with shadow & butter-spread light, this meal
              blossoms delicate utopias, an organic paradise

from city. Silent streets curved to footpaths, walls
               more vine than border, every boundary blurred

to green. & the girl knows not to mourn what’s gone–
                abandon means wildness, overgrowth, field. 

A stalk can grow madly if you give a boy magic
               beans, & to a hungry animal, a poison isn’t as it seems; 

the girl is not a girl. At the show, the people gathered 
                dirt & water between their hands, planted 

seeds. Then, all the spectators disappeared, left 
                only their clothes like scattered leaves in the street.  

A boy no longer a boy now sets the table 
               like a Punnett Square: lavender dessert, narcissus 

for seconds. When the polyps of flower swell 
                to pigment on each plate, they reach for a reed 

& begin to dig canvas from the bright 
                androgynous Earth.

James O’Leary (they/them) is a gender-fluid Pisces, dreamer, and dork from Scottsdale, Arizona. After spending some time up and down their home state, James has currently relocated to New York City, where they are pursuing an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. James has most recently won The Poetry Society of New York’s Duplex Contest judged by Jericho Brown, as well as having been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for their work in Kissing Dynamite. James wants to share some coffee with you and talk about birds.

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