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 the GENDER issue / POETRY

The Private Life of Flowers

by Teresa M. Leggard

Petals feel like skin on my skin when I peel back 

each one. The tight young bud doesn’t want to let them go, 


but I persist. At first the bloom resists, he curls 

in contention then submits to my pinch. 


My thumb smoothes it down; my finger wears a hat.

Again and again until each digit is a silk-fringed flapper.  


The petal’s base tucked beneath my nail’s edge, 

A calcified sickle rests on a velvet sack. The veins stain my prints, 


bleed into my own lifelines, filling them with chlorophyll.

Naps at my nape become Baby’s Breath; teeth turn 


into sunflower seeds; shoulders sprout capelets of leaves to cover 

the places he’s touched. Hands working me over like early spring soil. 


Teresa M. Leggard is an editor and creative working out of Kansas City, Missouri. Her primary genre is poetry. Currently, she is teaching English composition at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley and developing site-specific, interdisciplinary installations with performance outlet RubiX.

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