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Helena Mesa

Helena Mesa is the author of Horse Dance Underwater (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009) and a co-editor for Mentor & Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). She teaches at Albion College and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

By This Poet

1

Legend

During the war, women hid messages
   inside white flowers
tucked in their hair. They crossed
   enemy lines, slipped the blossoms
into soldiers’ fists. What might
   have been a child’s crown
for her communion, an offering
   at a grave, might win the war.
The ovule, the style, the stigma—
   what seemed to unfurl overnight
took weeks, even years.
   Dream your hand plucks the bloom,
its widest petals like porcelain,
   and a halo of bees skims your arms.
Upon waking, walk to the docks,
   the bloom heavy behind your ear,
and breathe in its sweet persistence,
   its scent of sea salt and gutted fish.