James Owens (bio)

Rustle and gleam in the understory,
a breeze lifts the little lanterns of columbine,

lit scarlet like tongues by the fire
they lick up through marl and leafrot.

Lanterns. And tongues. Stamen
and tendril sieving the wind, an ache

for the right turn of air, for the word
that will burn the words away,

a spray of yellow pollen.

And the same shine everywhere—
on the segmented back of the five-inch,

purple-black millipede on the path, pedaling
crazy bright panic as he arcs up

and over a fallen, wet twig of birch.

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