Heterophyllus

Philibert Commerçon: Buginvillæa, Genera Plantarum (A.L. de Jussieu, 1789); and Jeanne Baret, genus Baretia (Turraea)

Heterophyllus: having the foliage leaves of more than one form on the same plant or stem (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I think about those fused blooms, pink and white,
deep in their pockets of green; how they papered

an entire side of my childhood home that is gone.
How they rustled like whorls of dry parchment

in summer, and slicked themselves into tongues,
the better to taste the true vernacular of each

punishing monsoon. A woman botanist first
observed them: she, companion and lover

to the official scientist on a voyage circumnavigating
the world. Later records show she disguised herself

as a man, as no woman had been allowed on this journey.
There is a print of her in striped pantaloons, loose

jacket, a jaunty cap. She was of course discovered.
And made to pay the cost. To mark all that I’ve also

lost and gained, I wanted cuttings to plant
along one side of my fence. I remember

their tensile stems spiked with thorns. How I sat
as a bob-haired girl on the porch, spitting

watermelon seeds at the earth. Years later,
asked if I would give up the thing I loved best

for a man: something in me tore and quivered.
Something in me adhered, even as it uprooted.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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