Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Botanist, by Kathryn MacLeod

cold tales of distant
forests dense & rich

in waxen leaf and
canopy the exotic

way you look at me

language unrecognizable &
tiger eyes so lost in green

and waterfalls
the jungle times when we could plunder

shamelessly, our love
and history awash in blossom

ships and wondrous
biting insects


enter the realm

their smooth-faced god
placid amidst noisy colours

a devotee of sorts I travelled
distances to overcome

suffering, with half a heart

outside the temple
foreign shoes in rows & postcards

the soft-eyed mangy dogs
& bougainvillea clutching
worn verandas

a species we had never seen

I endured the duller pain of travel
I was always avaricious

a quiescent seed

you loved me anyways
and I returned your good heart
sick with incense


the museum smell
of documents and death, the saddest

shroud of history

it takes
influence and investments
to be the best collector

I could not shake
the opium truth

I wanted the taxonomy

the way some wanted


rarest petals, perfumes &
hidden in a deep treed

valley, small happy people

outside the economy
our riches undermined

and bruised I looked back

as I left them, slinging
goats and singing

as if they might be free
the birds, the long-tailed haunting birds


Dear heart—

I know the corners
of the dirty world

I walk from deserts
into jungles, cannot make out
the difference

now and again
my solitude erupts
like bedsores

I yearn for relevance
& discovery seek
the unknown species

O Visage

& serene

See me

I have folded
on my knees
stricken with unthought words

Kathryn MacLeod lives in Victoria, BC. Her previous books and chapbooks include Entropic Suite (above/ground press, 2012), mouthpiece (Tsunami Editions, 1996) and How Two (Tsunami Editions, 1987). Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Companions and Horizons: An Anthology of Simon Fraser University Poetry (2005), Writing Class: The Kootenay School of Writing Anthology (1999), and East of Main (1989).

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