poem index

The Critic Falls in Love

by Mikko Harvey

"Why were people so impressed
that flower petals resembled vaginas?"
I said, making an argument
about modern art, about which
I knew next to nothing.
"Nature is always mirroring
itself back at itself," I said,
coyly sipping cider.
Hours later, walking home
alone in the warm spring air,
I watched a white cat
crossing the street nearly
get hit by a black Ford Escape.
A pack of drunken women
discussing horses staggered
by me on the sidewalk.
Life was becoming
dangerously symbolic.
The wind undid my laces.
The elm tree I once trusted
now pinned me to the sidewalk.
I wanted to scream OK! OK!
I've learned my lesson! But
then I saw them: flowers
with thin green bodies
and pink faces snaking toward me.
One by one, they slid in my mouth.
I could no longer think.
I was gagging. The procession
was accompanied by a low chant.
"Nature, nature, nature,
nature, nature, nature,"
they whispered while traveling
the length of my tongue.
"Nature, nature, nature,"
they piled up in my stomach.
"Nature, nature," until I
was the one saying it.