In the Tradition of Women Who’ve Blessed Me to Transfer Their Virtues by Asa Drake

I give you what I don’t have.
Strawberries in the mouths
of birds. Unopened pomegranate
blossoms devoured by ants. Fruit dropped
from unpollinated vines, all varieties.
Tell me the last time a flower wasn’t
the shortcut to desire. One year
in the middle of my life
I asked how full do I want to be.
Like hunger in the years before,
I asked fullness to be endless.
Every noise, I gave cause to.
An excuse to find comfort
in the sounds of eating,
the small soul cutting a summer
lawn. I hear the thrum and wait
in my hothouse for my dinner
to line up petal to petal.
Plant fruit I’ve germinated
in my own mouth. Let
the animals in. I mean
to say I’m in love
with that small mouth.
But I can’t call love out
without telling the difference
between one mouth in the grass
and another. Permission is a fruit
I’ve cut from the tree, meaning
I’ve taken human sacrifice.
When I say be careful
I want to use your hands
in place of my hands.
When I feed the animals
the rabbit stands up
so straight she falls over.
That’s the part I want
you to know. We are
that kind of animal.
Asa Drake is a Filipina American writer and public services librarian in Central Florida. Her most recent work is published or forthcoming in Superstition Review, Copper Nickel, and Epiphany. She was a 2019 fellow for Idyllwild Arts Writers’ Week and a finalist for Omnidawn’s 2018 Chapbook Contest.