Quentin Compson at the Natural History Museum, Harvard University

by Megan Fernandes

You won’t have allergies here.
The flowers are made of glass,
your little spine will become a maple tree.
The orchids, posing like eavesdroppers—
they will make you their Queen.

We will make love on Russian glass,
pickled seeds, roots and stamens,
the translucent xylem of the flowers
pricking our spines.

Couldn’t you die here?
Don’t speak of Father.
Look to the cashew trees.

Remember the wild orchids in the New England wood?
Their veiny leaves and cuticles fresh with vanilla.
These are not fresh, but they inhale.
They can smell your minty breath,
they can bow to your sighs,
they will make soil of your shoulders
and grow you arms.

Caddy, surrounded by glass.
Caddy, surrounded by glass, a little tree inside her.
Caddy, surrounded by glass, smells like trees.

Couldn’t you die here, Caddy?
In all this glass?

The Kingdom and After

Last updated December 17, 2022