Jules Jacob

Strychnine Tree
August 21, 2020 Jacob Jules

Strychnos nux vomica
Strychnine Tree


It is not yet too late for the rescue.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rappaccini’s Daughter

Stranger under this love-sick tree, lapful of terminal clusters
remove your white shirt and nickel-sized buttons, trace
their velvety smoothness from my collarbone to sacrum.
Tongue these semen seeds through our clenched mouths
and teeth, waterboard closed throats until we’re swallowed.
We’ll hymn benevolent lies until there’s an antidote
to our natures, until we come ‘round right as we can be.

Jules Jacob is a contemporary poet, Court Appointed Special Advocate, and Emeritus Master Gardener. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Plume Poetry 8, The Rappahannock Review, West Trestle Review, Mom Egg Review, GlassRust + Moth, and elsewhere. She’s the author of The Glass Sponge (Finishing Line Press) and a recipient of the Virginia Center for the Creative Art’s residency in France. Visit julesjacob.com