While I was young, I did not know
the name of the plant that climbed up
the outer walls of our first house—
but it prospered. I knew from the way
the thorns grappled for every space
on the stalk, aiming for the distant
papery heart outlined in cream and russet.
I still search for it, though I’m told
it thrives best in warmer climes. When
the wind whispers, the buds close in
upon themselves: I don’t blame them.
But when you’re meant to carry fire, you
close the doors and carefully mark off
the place corresponding to the gut: it’s soft
and hollow. It’s hungry and it feeds you.