When the surgeons opened my mother
they found the rarest orchids –
the five-wounded sacred sleep
with ruby splashes on each bloom,
a blue-black hybrid like a bruise,
the dove orchid next to the flower in the form of a yellow serpent.
My mother's song orchids sang to me
when I crept into the operating theatre
to say goodbye to her. Without flinching
I looked at that place where I once cowered –
landing-petals shaped themselves into lips and tongues
to whisper goodbye back.
From magma No 30 (Winter 2004/2005)