The Edible Orchid

Tiger swallowtail butterflies
sway through a parking lot
after each other, crazy

with hunger. They drift
as if drunk on the sweet syrup
of white blooms. When you

smoke outside work, your skin
is so pale I see through it,
the light cruel to both of us.

We meet, ravenous, at a new
restaurant. I won’t eat
my blameless edible orchid,

but slide it into my jacket pocket.
It lives for awhile in a glass
of water. Or seems to live.

The Greeks had a word for us,
thanatoi, dying ones, guilty,
panicking, choking on air.

Photo by Mark Hillringhouse

Photo by Mark Hillringhouse

Barbara Daniels’ book Rose Fever was published by WordTech Press and her chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Casa de Cinco Hermanas will also be publishing her full-length book, Talk to the Lioness. Barbara’s poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and other journals. She received three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts