Order, Family, Genus, Species

Order, Family, Genus, Species

Order, Family, Genus, Species 1920 1867 Kim Harvey

[3rd Place]

 

Sugar pine, Jeffrey pine, mottled bark
with scent of vanilla and butterscotch,
candy my grandfather ate.

Monarchs will only eat milkweed, little blues
only buckwheat or lupine. Mares eat oats
and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy

He sang to himself in his armchair eating peanuts
by the handful. An evening grosbeak can crack
a cherry stone or a pinky. He stole his son’s
paper route money to go drinking.
My father never forgave him.

When the kids had a big game, he was at
the bar. When my grandmother worked three
jobs, he was at the bar. When their shitty
apartment burned down, he was at the bar.

My grandmother comes to me sometimes
as a spotted yellow butterfly. Bees can’t see
red but they see yellow and ultraviolet.
Evolution doesn’t always make sense.

One day he stopped cold turkey. After he quit,
he lost the house on Super Lotto tickets. He’d hide
a thimble in the room and we’d try to find it.
I helped him with his crossword.
He helped me with my homework.

Now spell symbiotic. When a deer tick bites
a fence lizard, the lizard’s blood cleanses
the Lyme-infected tick. S-Y-M-B-
I always loved him.

There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the
blood of the Lamb. Even the trees depend
on the birds to disperse their seeds.
Nothing happens without fire.

Header photograph © Sarah Huels.

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