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Poetry / Lucy Holme

'Floral Designs'

Issue 1. February 01, 2021


How can I write flowers afresh?

So many words exist of their honeyed depths. 

How they open themselves in ways we cannot.

I consider Sylvia’s tulips, the rage and riot. 

A cacophony which engulfed her room.

Imagine Mary’s green fisted peonies

all of that sweet, damp heat

remember that I want my own.

Like Vincent had the sunflowers.

Intense with rigor, an orchid’s fever-dream,

I long for an all-encompassing bud, 

after cradling a multitude of imitations. 

I have lifted petals, inhaled the strongest sap.

Stroked soft down, admired abundance like that. 

Known inflorescence, rudimentary, staminate—

neither crowning nor barren,

innocent or withered.

Where to flourish is not one thing. Or the other. 

In the end, I sketch a single stem. 

Its dew-silken follicles tremble, 

like the hairs on your arm

draped across my chair

that winter in Puerto Rico. 

You waited for me to make a plan,

to exit a stagnant arrangement. 

Sent bouquets for months,  rampant

with fragrant, exotic botanical notes—

but the card you enclosed was plain. 

We were (like Sylvia’s tulips)

too excitable to display

But I knew we mattered, 

and that we should not hide away.

You followed me halfway around the world 

for a four-day nervous bloom. 

Left tidemarks on the vase

to prove we could survive too.   

Originally from Kent in the UK, Lucy has a BA (hons) in English Literature and Language from Manchester University. She moved to Cork City in 2013 where she lives with her husband and three small children. In May of 2020 she was shortlisted for the Ó Bhéal International Five Words Competition and her poem printed in the anthology and five poems were featured in Poethead. She has poems recently published in Porridge Magazine, La Piccioletta Barca and Burnt Breakfast Magazine and forthcoming in Opia Lit and Dreich.

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