Amaranth Borsuk


Your task is to gamble on limited
light and space and face the
meadow, alkali mallow, let light
lick your basal rosette and bloom
bottle thistle through your bearded

               Here harm comes to gorse
and harmel, desert broomrape
                                      and field bindweed
                   —bad seeds—
leafy spurge on a two by three foot stage
                  where Malta starthistle rears a medusa head,
                                   milking musk thistle
                  for nimblewill.

What must thrive: povertyweed
                  and puncturevine,
ditches of jointvetch and blue panicgrass
                                     taking advantage
                     of all this rough comfrey,
                                                         beaten by shattercane.

Skeletonweed, tanglehead, rise up and bless
                    the velvet mesquite.
                                        This is the witchgrass hour,
                    so switch your yellow foxtail
                                                         to stun.





This undertaking—wrestling with the spillage,
with the piqued crust that heals
over fingered wounds,

with plucked fruit peeled and pared—
a chance at meticulous grace.

Held hotly in the wherefore by the baker’s
skein of bees, it blisters, boldens to umber,
vents a vaporous shriek.

In its little solitude, then, twelve fortunes apple-tart,
twelve intricate, edible fears.

A thumb to every flute—a clamor of blades.
At a loss for fancy words, the tongue,
bitter stone, repeats lemon

makes the white stay. No matter what I fill it with,
the pie is always birds.




- - - - - -

Amaranth Borsuk is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at USC. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in FIELD, Columbia Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Pool, and ZYZZYVVA. Collaborative translations of Paul Braffort’s Hypertropes (with Gabriela Jauregui) appear in New American Writing and Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion.





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