Nature Poem

by Hayley Bowen

this body like jackfruit sat too long in the sun
—on some desert floor turned oven—this summer
the hottest on record.
just like last summer
and the summer before.
this body like rot, becoming soft, leaking
all its sweet things until drained.
this wrinkled, white husk of fuzz and forgotten skin.
tamarisks cry salt and sorry, their last 
ditch effort at preservation but
it’s always too late to undo. this body
never meant to see too many stars or know
too much love. this body’s heart fragmented 
from the start was not born to endure. this body born ocotillo, 
only meant for one season of beauty. little torch to light once 
then sleep forever in the arms of saguaro,
forever in the warm jaws of the desert that bore her.

Hayley Bowen (she/her) is currently an MFA candidate at Syracuse University where she is Assistant Poetry Editor at Salt Hill Journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Santa Clara Review, Dunes Review, and elsewhere. Hayley’s first collection, Dearly Departed, from Finishing Line Press is forthcoming in May 2022.

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