Black-Eyed Susan

By Lisa Bellamy

I just cannot bloom endlessly, you know—this is November, I’m
pale, a dry stalk—I can barely stand, I’m shaking, I need Me time,
I need to center myself—this summer was horrific: It was all about
the aphids, crawling, depositing God knows what without my
permission, from who knows what hollows of slime; it was all about the
jays—“by mistake” they smashed into me, to try to grab
the crickets—I had to hear the swallowing, I had to see the bulging
gullets; it was all about the bees, their selfishness and their overall
lack of tenderness. Oh, bees are sly—they say they buzz for
beauty, for splendor, and they preen, like debutantes in frilly
hats—people, it’s a racket, a con job—they trampled on my
privates, they scurried back, mobsters with their booty (my pollen!)
to their dank, little clubs, their “hives.” This summer was all about
the deer, their nibbling, their slobbering, ticks crawling in and out
of their noses—sweet Jesus, a sight no one should have to
endure—and who, in the meadow, ever thought to pause, ever
thought to kiss my petals? People, I’m on my own here—I need T-L-C.
Look, dormant does not mean down-for-the-count, I will re-
seed myself—I am a brilliant genius of reinvention, the hardiest of
the hardy perennials—but I need to be pumped from below, long
and slow, with the cool water brimming under the meadow—I
need the slathering, the mud pack sliding into my flowerets, the
wet leaves—damnit someone needs to soothe my pistil.


Lisa Bellamy writes poetry and short prose. She teaches at The Writers Studio, where she studies with Philip Schultz. Her poetry collection, The Northway, was published 2018 by Terrapin Books. Nectar won an Aurorean chapbook contest. Her writing appears in literary magazines and mainstream publications. She has received a Pushcart Prize, a Pushcart Special Mention, a Fugue Poetry Prize and honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She graduated from Princeton.

Originally appeared in NOR 20.

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