Paul Bilger, Milkweed (digital photograph)

            If I have children, I will take them outside often,
            show how it all starts
            small from the furry bud and unfurls
into the colors that draw in animals.
See: the sunset-striped apples,
a blueberry’s silvery coat, fruit falling
            heavy with rot and yellow jackets carpeting the shade.
            How they’re too drunk to bother anyone,
            the pears’ sweetness pooling in the heat.
Foxes, those opportunists. They’ll pluck
the low-hanging plum with their front teeth,
graceful as calligraphers.
            The fruit’s benevolent trick
            being that you eat it whole and take it far away.
            If children are born to me
they may inherit bad joints, poor sight,
a small chemical sadness. If I give them anything
worth anything, let it be the knowledge
of bodies offering themselves up. How even in the fox,
            worms have encysted themselves in her muscles.
            They wait for her pregnancy, awaken
            to a wealth of new kits. One litter living in another.
            And so she eats the plums regardless of how ripe they are.
And because she is beautiful and hunted,
she will run and spread
seeds out across the woods.


Kara Krewer