A Painting of a Pressed Flower



The open book on the small entry table

by the front door


waits with the keenness of two children,

hand in hand.


I pick a sole carnation

from Kilmt’s Beech Forest Buchenwald.


Between the two solid

bookends, it folds nature onto itself. 

Nearer now—


cochineal, flattening

and christening—


Undisturbed for years

like a saint, its colors peeled from its skin

like paint. The residue bleeds through pages


five through eleven.


What of the sun



that this carnation has been cut

at the legs?


If the body is a house, then this flower

is a tower to marvel at

like a crucifix in a farm garden.


The sun exudes into the room

eclipsing Leda-like tragedies.


The shadow of the carnation is cast outwards

like fingers reaching from the book


to touch the switch of memory.

Her Ritual



The sea wants her. It chimes

For her. It wants two women.

I give it one.


She is a shapeless stone.

She is a shadow under

Water. She is never storm-



Yet, she descends.

I drag her out in white,

Bruised. And she’s asleep

From too much water.


A terrible fish, a loss of sound,

Her unevenness,

Broken pink—

Joshua Burton is a poet from Houston, TX and is currently a MFA candidate at Syracuse University. He enjoys Elliott Smith, Emily Dickinson, Terrance Hayes and anime.