Time picked up its toad-green watering can and dowsed the soil
to grow things to kill. Time hummed that old diamond-back song, hummed
the song of cigarettes.
Time watered and a cool dawn seeped up from the ground
well before the hot sun rose hungry, ready to singe
the new tender shoots. Time poured more drink
and a hunting knife grew, reflecting light. Then a lung,
then a heart, seven layers of skin.
Time gave water to a small patch and Sappho rose. Then the Pleiades,
soft and white as asters, which hadn’t yet
been planted. Then Sappho’s lover. Elizabeth Bishop
was there, under the grape arbor: she was entwined in lattice. All her shame
simmered on the freshly sprouted black stove.
Time will kill her, too. Time will tell.
Time brushed its hands on their daisy-embroidered overalls. Time thought,
We should plant round things: vinyl albums, snakes
eating their own tails, belly buttons, cancer cells, dilation (eye and cervical),
street lamp globes, new moons, penumbras, small circles of friends.
Time doodled on the yellow papyrus, just poking through, We should grow
a dark-haired girl who is afraid of all of this. We should grow
her wounds and purple scars.
Jennifer Martelli’s debut poetry collection, The Uncanny Valley, was published in 2016 by Big Table Publishing Company. She is also the author of the chapbook, Apostrophe, and the chapbook, After Bird, forthcoming from Grey Book Press. Her work has appeared in Thrush, [Pank], Glass Poetry Journal, The Heavy Feather Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Jennifer Martelli has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as a co-curator for The Mom Egg VOX Blog Folio.