How to Be a Succulent                                                                           —Sarah Pape

Get fat. Hold water
like a fleshy spendthrift.
Underground, swell

without audience, knowing
lack cannot kill you.
Invite the heat to touch

your thick petals, then send
up a stamen as thanks.
Learn to bloom without.


And here emerges a new season,
where the too-early leaves push

behind dead ones, never dropped—
baby teeth in an ancient mouth.

Deciduous is a word I wanted
upon first hearing, loosing the places

fit against your heat. House two
frames in the possible, now visible,

end. Our anaphylactic love, our sex
so prone to bees. We are dancing

on the last of everything, writhing
hard to shake the foliage down.

Sarah Pape

Sarah Pape teaches English and works as the Managing Editor of Watershed Review at Chico State. Her poetry and prose has recently been published in The New York TimesNew England ReviewPassages NorthEcotone, Crab Orchard Review, The Pinch, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and others. Her chapbook, Ruination Atlas, was published by dancing girl press. She curates community literary programming at the 1078 Gallery and is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Check out her website for more:

ISSN 2472-338X
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