Chloe Honum

Nightfall in Spring

Nightly, the smoke from the neighbor’s incinerator paws the air

in our garden. Black flecks of newspaper settle

across the violets. From the tip of a twig, a praying mantis

extends its lines, the green text of its body becoming an elegant,

indecipherable sentence, and with round green eyes looks out

over the grass. Trumpet flowers swell with mist. My mother crouches

in a white nightgown and cuts sprigs of parsley and mint.

She is addicted to downers, her mind a loom, its fabric the weather

of spring. The new leaves flicker like eyelids. Beneath the mailbox

wasps draw their plans for a nest—cloud-gray walls,

hexagon hollows. It is their night as much as it is ours.

The dew on her feet. The shudder of their long, red wings.

Chloe Honum is the author of The Tulip-Flame (CSU, 2014), which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the winner of Foreword Review’s Book of the Year Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Best First Book of Poetry Award. Her chapbook, Then Winter, is forthcoming from Bull City Press in 2017. She is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. Raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Honum currently teaches at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.