I sniff the blooming tiger lily,
two tongues sprung open
from one mouth.
I poison the river unintentionally.
I walk on the designated paths.
I splice the mountain, its body and mouth gaping.
I collect rainwater in a wheelbarrow.
I line the whale’s belly with gifts until
they rupture its stomach.
I water the strawberries.
Again I fill my gas tank with dead things,
generations spun together until shiny.
I feed the ducks fresh lettuce.
I maneuver the dead squirrel
on the road, mark the moment
when creature becomes meat.
I accept that my love is a
poisonous flower, routinely fatal.
I calculate the force of
loving in each glittering death.
All day on this land, in the
deep forest, the electric greens and
still-wet mud writhe with life.
The pond gurgles and whispers.
Everyone here knows to shudder
when they see me coming.
The mangos arrive unbruised
at the grocery store.
The wolves should start running.
Copyright © 2022 by Nisha Atalie. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 7, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.