The Stranded Lily and Circe
Two poems composed by Dustin Pickering
The Stranded Lily
I cut the lily from its stem
and wrap it in torn newspaper.
Can you read my blood
in its silence?
This aching of spirit?
Who plucked you of my eye, dearest One?
Was it the silence too?
I brought my love the lily
with three carnations.
Free hearts give freely—
and I gave too much.
My heart splayed in the compost
still speaking of this grief in my wounds,
I was born from a vacuum,
the unborn child of two unwed—
I spent my life in institutions:
juvenile detention and hospitals,
all paid by someone else.
My foster parents were never happy.
A thoughtless angel appeared in my dreams.
The angel seemed adroit of mind
but was merely the product of reading.
After surviving abortion, my miracle,
I realized how precious life is.
I cannot throw my life to chance;
I am an empty platitude of the sea.
I come to haunt you by the cave
where you sleep.
The ship catches fire in my spell
and night is burned through the smoke.
Spellbound, I am crystallized by chance,
left in the silence of furious foam.
BIO: Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press. He has contributed writing to Huffington Post, Café Dissensus Everyday, The Statesman (India), Journal of Liberty and International Affairs, The Colorado Review, World Literature Today, and several other publications. He placed in the top 100 out of 12,500 entries for the erbacce prize in 2021, and was a finalist in Adelaide Literary Journal’s first short fiction contest. He was longlisted for the Rahim Karim World Prize in 2022 and given the honor of Knight of World Peace by the World Peace Institute that same year. He hosts the popular interview series World Inkers Network on YouTube.
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