Vialpando

Hannah Malik's poem, Vialpando, explores the idea of childbirth and loss.
The mock-orange tree
looks pale as the flattened scar,
the heath upon which the heathen
screams.
The bough’s extent
graces the cropped and furrowed sky
of cloud and celestial smiles.
Dusk,
as the wail
clips pigeon wings overhead.
The winter breath a
silent re v
                        er
                                i
                                       e…

Top orange flame a hanging amber drop upended like the slaked mind drunk on hyacinth monkshood, heather, blossoms- opened- a jaw with whiskers, the honeysuckle. A sweeter smell against curlequed rubbings, rubbings conceived by the skull, the pale stretch of glossed-over belly: the woman, barren. Autumnal flesh never tasting spring but always chased by winter-
-Skoll, a raking claw to dispose of the blossom which knew no scent but citrus and hunger, no breath. Breathless. He stands beside her, greying hair and hands against her pelvis, she looks to sea in the growing dark. Her eyes a selkie’s greenish hue and knuckles white with hunger for what could have been. What was? What spoken spell beneath her branches could propose the blood and not the name, this woman with no heir.
No bosom full and glowing, pressed upon by the tasseled heads of fog and bitter smells from the locusts upon mock orange petals, fallen without aid of air to glide. She smiles. Her paling, nakedness exposed- the cold ripped her o f h e r b l o o m and took whatever happened, -in a night above the sea, beneath strains of stars- away.
Her branches trailing into dark, her squarish chin quivering as she grows bent by the winter wind that bites her heels. He calls her back, afraid, hands soaked in blood and nails caked with soil. She has already withered. He leaves a mock-orange leaf to seed.

By: Hannah Malik

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