The Christmas amaryllis keeps on growing,
boxed, neglected into February,
curled against the cardboard in the dark,
a spark in Quasimodo’s brooding cell.
And we move through our shadow-angled house
unconscious of its tendrils in our beds,
its airborne web, the ways that unmade beds
embrace corruption. Silence feeds what’s growing
daily when there’s no one in the house,
and a flower burns through nights in February,
out of sight, a churning carousel
abandoned with its lights on in the dark.
Forgotten visitation, onioned arc,
it aches to show itself… and know our beds.
To mix with us in each dividing cell
that pushes farthest from the fire. It’s growing
spinelessly in love with February
and the hibernations of our house,
the mouthfeel of our eggs and Maxwell House,
and the flavor of our bodies in the dark
while we’re away. The radix Februari
cultivates our absent flower beds.
It’s growing, growing, growing, growing, growing,
microfiber, wind spore, nanocell,
unnaturally active past its sell-
by-date, and wiring our entire house
with febroneural threads. The box is growing
bolder and more desperate, sweet and dark.
Perhaps it means to choke us in our beds
and spend the waning days of February,
with its vampire apex, February,
with its uphill climb and sleeper cell
around the corner, sucking in our beds
and pulling us, digested, to a house
beneath the sideboard where we left it dark
and dying in a box. But it kept growing,
growing like a February virus,
burning in the dark, a fuel cell,
an unmade brain, a house of hunchbacked beds.
by Rick Mullin, first appeared in Measure, from Stignatz & the User of Vicenza.
Editor’s Note: It is February, and this poem is a sestina written in blank verse, which is astonishing.