Excerpt from The Lost Time Accidents
A Reason for Tiger Lilies
I was something more than a girl
with two whole hands —
one quiet, and the angry one
fastened to my wrist
with silk and pine sap.
It came undone.
I buried that hand in the garden
under a snowball tree
that died of human-poisoning,
leaving bare and fertile ground.
Sprouting from its fingers, tiger lilies
replaced the tree in a burst of petals,
wet orange peels freckled with rage.
A prison of roots and photosynthesis.
I forgot anger — the stranger
girls shouldn’t speak to —
chose a fanged lily for my hair,
which passed the blight
to my face and remaining hand.
Bark is the first layer.
Worse than bite, and underneath,
my fibrous spine grows green.
Wet veins carrying liquid sugar
crawl from the tips of these
five branches to another quiet thing:
a speckled bud waiting
to unfold at my centre.
Excerpted from The Lost Time Accidents. Copyright © 2021 by Síle Englert