Supermarket Gladioli

I write poems about sex what else is there now but
this parade of little gods that blaze and are put out,
and plastic-wrapped gladioli. I picked the ones
without a single bloom, succulent antlers,
in a vase on the table, standing defiant.

I do not want them to open but they do, in amethyst,
one by one from the bottom, such unbearable softness,
tissues offered to the uncrying, an unexpected kindness,
a love unbidden and unrequited, creeping up
a single vertebra at a time.

Rachel Coventry’s poems have appeared in The North, The Moth, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times and The Shop, and have featured on RTE Lyric FM. She has just completed a doctorate in philosophical poetics from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her debut collection Afternoon Drinking in the Jolly Butchers (2018) is published by Salmon Poetry.

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