New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 highly commended: ‘Anneslea fragrans’ by Magdalena Ball

Anneslea fragrans

First there is touch
teasing evergreen into position
waking naked
against sunlight
hot plasma in the morning
opens bracts

you can feel the tension
the garden on full alert

each root tip
the locus of electrical signals
reacting to groping fingers
sharp to the eye, but yielding
ready for the spit
scenting the air in anticipation
chemical compounds
communicating a warning
from the roots

there were no bees this year

silence buzzed through the air
an absence of sound
the hives empty
epithelial tissues connecting
to nothing

the air hurt with it

your eyes adjusting
the yellow cream points
unfiltered, unfettered
ready to pollinate
plant, interrupted

what else is on the way out

the list grows long
Javan Rhinos, Vaquita
Sumatran Tiger
Man

pulses like sound waves
transmitted in
voltage-based signaling
a green nervous system
sending out alcohols, aldehydes, ketones
plant to plant
the botanical telegraph

with your bad hearing
you’ll need to get down to earth level
to get the phytomorphic shivers

the splitting of senses
is a human-only perversion
most of what we taste is smell
taking the warning in vibrations
against the skull
terroir, a bitter crunch, crumbing
against the lips
almost desire

the spitting plant waits
Corymbs branching outward into warmth

a day that might not last
ineffably sad
ready for evolution.

-Magdalena Ball

magdelena-ball-pic-enchanced

Magdalena Ball

Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer, interviewer, and the editor of Compulsive Reader. She has been widely published in literary journals, anthologies, and is the author of several books of poetry and fiction. Her most recent work includes, the novel, Black Cow (Bewrite Books), and the collection of poetry, Unmaking Atoms (forthcoming, Ginninderra Press).

 

 

 

‘Anneslea fragrans’ (the spitting plant): Zalehah Turner interviews Magdalena Ball, highly commended for the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016

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