Strychnos nux vomica
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.