Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I heard this poem performed at the Coalition open-mic event, which Mel is co-founder of. I love her poetry – the imagery, the word play, the strong character voices she creates. This poem showcases Mel’s talent with imagery and her love of nature. I love the ambivalence, the fiercely evocative bloom of nature contrasting with the solitary speaker, hiding in a still world. The result is a wonderfully dramatic metaphor.
Like the narcissus root, I am violently bashful Sitting on the bedroom carpet Searching out silver-fish as They scuttle and hide Clothed in my dust-feathered skin cells. Just one heavy breath is disaster Their confettied finale sends A death-shower that shimmers In the slatted light beams of autumn. It is now time to plant bulbs in the borders I admire their naked charm Unremarkable capsules bound To deliver a Trojan spring Incognito mud-dwellers Dormant saboteurs Sleeping insurgents put back to bed After a bad dream. After planting, I pass the time projecting Hollywood vistas onto the Magnolia walls of the bungalow Occasionally glancing outside at the soil Waiting to hear precocious whispers of life From each stomata And to see primary green veins lifting leaves in the merciful fury of birth.
Melanie Tomkins lives and works in Greater Manchester, UK. She has a master’s degree in American Literature and has been an educator for over twelve years. She most recently became a co-founder of the writers’ collective Coalition who hold monthly meetings in the market town of Stockport. You can find her on Twitter @Mellio00484451.