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.