Poem of the Week by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Happy Monday. Here's a poem to start your week.
Originally published in Third Coast, as reprinted in
the 2009 Pushcart Prize XXXIII Best of the Small Presses.

Love in the Orangery

When you see a seventy-pound octopus squeeze
through a hole the size of a half-dollar coin, you

finally understand that everything you learn about
the sea will only make people you love say You lie.

There are land truths that scare me: a purple orchid
that only blooms underground. A German poet

buried in the heart of an oak tree. The lighthouse man
who used to walk around the streets at night

with a lighted candle stuck into his skull. But winters
in Florida--all the street corners have sad fruit

tucked into the curb, fallen from orangery truckers
who take corners too fast. The air is sick with citrus

and yet you love the small spots of orange in walls
of leafy green as we drive. Your love is a concrete canoe

that floats in the lake like a lead balloon, improbable
as a steel wool cloud, a metal feather. This is the truth:

I once believed nothing on earth could make me say magic.
You believe in the orange blossom tucked behind my ear.

--by Aimee Nezhukumatathil