Our series of poetry excerpts continues with a poem from Little Envelope of Earth Conditions, the new collection by Cori A. Winrock. Her lines loll with the rhythm of grief: “I wake to bury / you again, stumbling // for the rotary receiver on its vine— / swinging from the wall of a house.” A synthesis of delight and delirium; memory and mourning.
+All By Myself I am a Huge Camellia +
Some days no one is my mother
but my mother. & my mother is no
longer a distance that cinches itself—
the flush on flush of the new
fever, the baby’s first floral-
heat nursed down—with a telephone
call. I could not gather, could not
collect your voice in fits
in tinder in sleep. So the flowerbeds:
empty. The endless ringing: all hesitation,
no digging. I wake to bury
you again, stumbling
for the rotary receiver on its vine—
swinging from the wall of a house
I left burning small: votive
light throwing off no sound.
In the yard the petals all flame
& lantern. In the crib
my daughter moro-s herself
in heartbeat cycles, limbs sparked
apart with shock. The smoke of us both
rises: like a moon: like a pulse. & I am
alone in our surveillance, our time-
lapsed fevering burst into a single bloom
: the resurrected echo-light of your ambulance
dissolving through the walls.
“+ All By Myself I am a Huge Camellia +” from Little Envelope of Earth Conditions by Cori A. Winrock, Alice James Books, 2020.