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Terry Blackhawk: Orchis Opens the Book

of animal castration.
She knows it’s not about pain,
rather convenience and ancient
practice: diagrams of restraint
and genitalia opposite
instruments of sterility
curving like saracen moons.
Crescent, nascent—she doesn’t
look too closely. There’s no blood
to speak of and what’s implied
has little to do with husbandry.
The denuded bellies and poor,
clipped bulbs remind her
not of absence, but tulips—
the ones she rushed last fall
into almost frozen ground.
Flags of hope, it’s been a long winter.
She wants to watch each stalk
thrust open, unfurling first
as fringes then flaring, loudmouthed
cups of bloom. Petals like hide,
she will see them rise,
feel the earth whinny and stomp.

Copyright 2020 Terry Blackhawk.

Terry Blackhawk is the author of many poetry collections, including One Less River (Mayapple Press, 2019).

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