Issue 6,  Poetry

Rhododendron by Lucy Whitehead

I am a princess alone 
            among the rhododendrons, 
plucking the sticky flowers     pushing 
as many as I can 
behind my small ears     weaving 
them into my tangled hair.

I raise a single blossom 
up to the sun     see how it blazes 
deep pink 
all the way through, 
                 sunbeams glinting 
off the syrup at its centre     wonder 
how it tastes     want 
to put my tongue to it. 

One of the bushes is hollow.
I climb through leaves     damp 
from a rain shower
into a room of flowers
and broken sunlight     til
                  I am cradled 
in pink petals     a cocoon 
of summer      an upside-down 
flower basket     a blossom 
umbrella.

I crouch down 
on the petalled ground     serve 
invisible friends imaginary
cordial in upturned flowers. 
       It tastes of honey and raspberries, 
                   of earth and sea air.

Outside, grownups 
are sauntering about      
like bees     with their cups 
of tea     their wine and chatter, 
with their sensible dresses, 
their serious expressions     their 
untangled hair. 

No one can see me 
or knows I’m here.

Far off,
        amidst the drone 
              of insects and conversation, 
someone is calling my name.

____________________________________________________________

Lucy Whitehead has a BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and an MA in History of Art and Archaeology from SOAS University of London. Her poetry has appeared in Amethyst Review, Barren Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Burning House Press, Collective Unrest, Electric Moon Magazine, Ghost City Review, Mookychick Magazine, and Twist in Time Magazine, and is forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic. You can find her on Twitter @blueirispoetry.

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