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  • Monotropa Uniflora
  • Christine Butterworth-Mcdermott (bio)

The ghost flower is "incapable of photosynthesis. Unlike the green growing things around it, it can't manufacture its own food but relies on symbiotic relationships."

—Marta McDowell, Emily Dickinson's Gardens

You fleck with pink ownershipwhenever anyone admires your translucence

(how pale! how delicate!)

and preen a promise of perpetual sweetness—but if plucked, you decay, blacken by the time

you're led home. You bring nothing to soil,nothing substantially perlite is yours in the garden

bed. Instead, you feast off other hosts. Ghostflower, watching you cling there hurts like glass

and reflects how often that which gathersstrength only from others

(how pale! how fragile!)

makes a darkness for itselfthat is rootless. [End Page 551]

Christine Butterworth-Mcdermott

christine butterworth-mcdermott's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cimarron, The Normal School, River Styx, Southeast Review, and William and Mary Review, among others. She is the author of a chapbook, Tales on Tales: Sestinas; the full-length collection, Woods & Water, Wolves & Women; and the founder and coeditor of Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. A full-length collection about Evelyn Nesbit, Evelyn As, and another chapbook, All Breathing Heartbreak, will be published in 2019.



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p. 551
Launched on MUSE
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