A Dictionary of Preserving the Hydrangea’s Bloom

Jennifer Militello

First, soften its one thousand grand catastrophes of smoke,
small-fisted exotics, unaware of death. Startle the petals’
parchment paper, all in grays beneath the flesh,

scents that have been pinched and rounded, planted down
the hurricane loam, equal parts peat, leaf mold, senile
elegies, lime-free grit. At the center

of the hand, a map for each is pinned. Gestation weeps
more acidity for each deciduous bruise, suggesting
understanding beyond the human crush. Bend

the panicle until it splits, glitters, lords over
the grasp of the stem’s relenting vine. Splinter the iris’s
dimness, a fine gauze between contrasting eyes. Flay

of the seedless, swimless flutter, lord of the smolder,
the yellow sky’s mouths. The last sad vendor
of the intricate’s decline. Cover flat with glass and wait.

Architecture: the last occupants, sorrows that are picked,
with fertile or perfect florets, bottles containing poison,
notched, so as to be detected in the dark, by touch.

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