You must wear your rue with a difference

by Marisca Pichette in Issue Sixteen, July 2024

she makes a pond
in petals pluck’d (forget-me-)
planted in the upturn’d dirt
of graves.

her arms all dark,
disinterred bone dust (dancing girls)
her lungs weigh’d down
with growing things.

she donates her breath to butterflies
& in her throat she bears (swaddled)
chrysalises fit to burst
in colors she’ll never see.

on the surface of her flower pond
no ducks, swans, egrets white
as the bones she left uncovered—
only gasping blossoms

& her:

she lay herself down
before poems could memorialize
a virginal sacrifice (hooker’s lips)
& parted her unkiss’d mouth

& unbeckoned, sang.

butterflies & moths & honeybees between her teeth
their wings louder than battles & ghosts
they leave in a curtain (naked man)
& in a curtain, rain comes.

her pond fills at last:
petals & princesses
orphans & orchids (wax lips)
frogs & foolish love

all wash away with perfume
& echoes.
Her soil accepts it all,
seeping down to the very tips of her

unbound hair.

© 2024 Marisca Pichette

Marisca Pichette

Marisca Pichette is a queer author based in Massachusetts, on Pocumtuck and Abenaki land. Find more of her work in Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, and others. Her Bram Stoker and Elgin Award-nominated poetry collection, Rivers in Your Skin, Sirens in Your Hair, is out now from Android Press. Find them on Twitter as @MariscaPichette, Instagram as @marisca_write, and Bluesky as @marisca.bsky.social.

Poetry by Marisca Pichette
  • And it dries and dries
  • A Prayer for the Surviving
  • You must wear your rue with a difference