Poetry | Inflorescence

‘So work, work, and more work’

—Wisława Szymborska



History or myth—picture

tulip bulbs, unburied


like onions. An onion

is the likeness Hepburn


—in Gardens of the world

proffers in the purr & lilt


of vowel, halt of consonant;

annunciation that lifts ready


from memory the mises-en-scène

of gulped marbles—Eliza D’s


triumph in rise & soar

of voice, ‘I can do / without


you—’ ‘Don’t speak; don’t waste

my time / show me!’ An onion


too is what the PM of then

opens his jaw onto, mouth into


brown paper skin & wet

flesh: lunar glow


& crunch of white, translucent

in allusions to green—& this


seems wasteless, at least: the peel

intact & taken in. The onion hasn’t


a centre to reach, stone

core to touch with any


tooth / knife / nail—   I didn’t

know, before the poems’


work, how Audrey’s voice

for Eliza was dubbed, sometimes


doubled; the ghost singer credited

barely if at all. How from this


a whole ghost

chorus lifts


in each point of silence

& of speaking


over— / Where thought holds

some enjambment, wanting


as desire or lack— / The poem

won’t work


towards cohesion,

skirts by verb


each point

of focus. Only this


resolve of

wanting, present


in each sense—this

stretch of here & gift


that reaches

for & out-wards, on—



Jo Langdon

Jo Langdon writes fiction and poetry. She is the author of two poetry collections, Snowline (Whitmore Press, 2012) and Glass Life (Five Islands Press, 2018), and her recent fiction appears in journals including Griffith Review and Westerly. Jo lives on unceded Wadawarrung land in Geelong/Djillong.

More by Jo Langdon ›

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