The Woman Made of Flowers by Robert de Born

The Woman Made of Flowers

Did they weave a woman? A wife for him, winding
thin stems on a sturdy stone table,
muttering magic, make… legs?
make midriff, make arms
from lily stalks, lain awkwardly
down to draw dainty cuffs
from the tepals, to string the stamina into
fragile fingertips, flowering in Catholic

white…

did they whittle sweet william down
to be the pale pinkish pads under toenails,
deadhead red dianthus, neck
carnations for her nipples, craft
eyes from impossible pale poppies…

red roses for her cheeks, dark tulips for her hair…

Did they weave a wife, a woman for him, whispering
incantations in late answer to his prayer?

He thought they had;

bound her in a bed,
picked her petals to pieces, pared,
plucked out new colours, drew calendars…
loamy soil for the roses

and wire

enclosures.

And then Autumn.

He stood stock still to see

the teasels and the nettles
the yarrow and the campion
the burnets and the knapweed
that spilled themselves sunwards,

as she walked away
like a shadow from sunlight.

Did they weave a woman from the flowers?

No.

I wait,
with my cards, the magician, the fool,
less real than a dandelion’s bristles,
bewitched by wild orchids,
and the thorn

and the thistle.

 

First published on Boston Poetry Magazine.

Robert de Born is a poet and singer who lives in Sheffield with his fiancée, a cat and three trolls. He has performed at events such as the Beacons and Newfound Festivals and his work has been published online and in print.

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