Bipinnate Plants & Other Bracken
Welcome to our bifid world, split
like a snake’s tongue. One half’s

a garden ungrowing, locked-up, but 
we live this side of the wall. We still

have to work in the dirt. You’ll wear
grit in your knees soon enough, no matter

how much you scrub. You’ll carry it
under your nails, a dead man’s manicure. 

Here you’re welcome to taste what 
you want—any apple or frond—

but that doesn’t mean
what you eat won’t devour you

in turn. Learn to tell quick poison
from slow. We don’t yet know

where the haunted house stops
& the gallery begins. The history 

museum. The hunting preserve. 
We race each day to its end, 

but the day always wins. Welcome
to today’s race. Finish is all you can do: 

pick a sin to believe in & stick to, get 
by on: gluttony, lust, something 

to distract your mouth
from the one food it can’t have, 

can’t tooth, the one truth
it can’t swallow.
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