by judith h. montgomery
Bog-waters brim in gleam, in new- green curl and shoot under pouring sun—season for the skunk cabbage, most unlovely name, to push through winter scurf—broken twigs, scuffed whisks of pine storm-shaken loose, a deer’s black pebbled scat snowmelt-softened to dark jam. The stalk thrusts vivid yellowgreen, blunt thumb that presses spongy breeze—sleek leaf-envelope a swell in mid-spathe just below the closed, delicately curving tip. Warblers slip and soar above, wings dipped and crowned in butter, as the close-folded spathe ripens lemon—and begins to split, clasped palm curving open to reveal the knobby dotted swiss of spadix all strut and beam, its mirror-print kissed deep in cupping tissue. Now, stalk and spadix cast their spell: a certain pungence, a summons that enriches bursting buds, lifts the cloud of swifts that stitches pond to sky, and daubs one upturned feather whitely drifting on a ripple. Now, everywhere’s quick-flutter, water- flicker, sun-glance—atoms float on odor, sex beckons to the dance: ready, ripe—all beauty releasing.
“Abundance” first appeared in The Comstock Review (2006)