Look At Me – Joanna Nissel

Look At Me

Before you leave
you must know the shape of the orchid
–the narrow rod of stem,
itself held up by a green plastic pole,
too fragile to support the glut of blooms
billowing at the head.

Before you leave,
you must know that four months ago
the plant was a barren knot of stumps.
Blanched in the white windowsill sun,
it leaned against the guide-pole,
unmoving for an entire winter.

Before you leave,
you must know that when spring came,
I reached to wipe the dust from its leaves
and discovered a bud.
A knuckle of a thing, tiny,
barely a suggestion of green.

You must know I thought of you
when more buds opened and opened and opened.
I thought of how thrilled you’d have been
of the shock of cerise in each centre,
like the bright silk lining of a dull coat.


Joanna is an MA graduate from Bath Spa University, whose poetry and nonfiction often deals with family and trauma. She is a researcher for creative writing incubator, Paper Nations and social media editor for Tears in the Fence.




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