Heliotropism by Maria Sledmere

Pollinated by ‘Synaesthesia’

After the unexpected death, a vase of sunflowers.

Storms against the suspended background, a whey-

flavoured husk of longing: she steams

the milk in a cold café, heating her palms

on the metal. There is the man

in angelic denim; he sips her gourmet lattes

just so her uniform looms, Rothko-bold

between the bar

and the azure of fragrant sky outside.


She never tries to talk

of anything but weather. Saving her pennies

she feeds the bees, hot drops

of honey on platters of copper.


(Have you been suffering, have you been

so ill as to pale in the sun?)


Under London fog, her buttons

incandesce, one by one

the calefaction of hands on her chest.


These are the black and yellow bugs,

the summer showers;

such myriad music becoming undone

in a swarm, the vivid beats

of cells in blood. He gives her

a fistful of bees, that nectarous

night-flowering calyx

that folds in the sun,

that shakes in the breeze


A cultivated flourish, the sensitivity

of every temperate spread; a

certain whorl of petal, of iris.


She melts into

each floret of disc,

coveting pain ornamental.

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