Elizabeth Willis’s new book, Meteoric Flowers is just out from Wesleyan University Press. These poems take on Erasmus Darwin, the pastoral tradition, the Baudelairean prose poem, and the FBI. Her previous books include Turneresque (Burning Deck, 2003) and The Human Abstract (Penguin, 1995). Her poems appear in recent issues of Canary, Chicago Review, Conjunctions, Crowd, The Hat, No, and Open City. She lives in central Massachusetts.

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The Similitude Of This Great Flower
by Elizabeth Willis


These vines are trim, I take them down. I have my mother’s
features in my heart, the darkest gem, tripping in the tar, an
affinity for Iceland. The world is clanking: noun, noun,
noun. Sand in the shoe doesn’t make you an oyster. This
river runs constantly, “the similitude of this great flower,”
its violent fame. Forfeit your interests while moonlight
chucks the sun. Is the dog behind glass, glassed in?
Heaven’s voice has hell behind it. I’m looking at the evil
flower, a fly in the keyhole trying to read the wall. It says
we haven’t died despite the cold, it sells the green room’s
sweat and laughter. It’s misty in the dream. It says you
promised to go on.