Feeding Iris Strawberries

I chopped them so she wouldn’t choke.
Tiny organs prepped for transplant,
tumbled together in a smash-

proof container. She stuck her fingers in
and muddled ruby juice into her knuckles
like a lazy surgeon. I rubbed a wedge

between her lips; her tongue, tender
giant, unfurled from its anesthesia
of saliva. The tongue chewed, her teeth

clean as ghosts. Possessed,
she was strawberries, vocal
cords lit in pulpy psalm.

My fingertips – her lips – red!
I felt then all her firsts – reflex
to my breast, to bloody

the word, to stumble and then cry out
at not falling, balance
vaulted like a gothic arch. I felt the mouth

of the person
she will one day love
fed strawberries.




Elizabeth Ross is the author of Kingdom (Palimpsest Press, 2015). Hamilton, ON, is her new home. In Spring 2019, Palimpsest Press will publish her second poetry collection.

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