Poems by Judith Montgomery

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by Judith Montgomery

From Canary June/July 2009

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.

Originally published in The Comstock Review, 2006

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