All night a woman prays for girls she does not know by name

A woman gave me a flower in an envelope.

Its stalk is what radioactive must look like

in a vein—pure fluorescence.

The humidity in the envelope has curled the leaves

around their spines, their ribs. And the corolla,

pressed flat, could be a woman's head in profile;

the sepal, a green bonnet. There's something else

where the stem forks: a smaller bud,

the flower carrying a child on her hip,

a child articulated so perfectly, like the fingernails

of a baby, you want to count its parts.

If not taken apart, the flower will fall apart anyway—

alopecia, self pity, baby please. Why did she give it to me?

Why an envelope?—crumple all that past. Then crumple

the name aster lateriflorus, lady in black,

so the thing that you're looking at is a frog,

a pig fetus on a dissection tray, reprehensible

for—who's making you do this? All night

she prays for girls she does not know

by name, the girl deflowered by a fist, the girl

with a girl with a cord round its neck, the girl

at the Girls Girls Girls.