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Song Orchids

Pascale Petit

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)