Image courtesy of The Orchid Column




My nights are now full of dark coats
buttoned up on emptiness.
Black shoes carrying nothing
walk out the door each morning.

I wake up to layers of bricks
around my body, each day
one more layer, the cat
already howling on top of my head—
a mad woman.
The cat might as well be dead,
for all the good its shrieking will do.

I have this watch in my pocket—smooth
as sea-glass, perfect.  It doesn’t work.
I take it out every so often.
It always shows the right time.

Soon it will be dawn.  Hungry aches
will circle around my knees, small vultures,
aiming for the heights of this stern rock.
Each day such an Everest.  Still,
they sail quickly through their own storms.
My head in the clouds, I must look invincible.

Down, down to the valleys
of contented housewifery and full bellies,
the mouths of children opening
like orchids, calling, calling.


First published in The 2River View, 18.2 (Winter 2014)


Linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

34 thoughts on “Orchids

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  1. Holy crap!!! That was really good, I think everyone already repeated most of the awesome lines you have written here and I am in total agreement. this had a Dali feel to it. Loved every line!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kaykuala

    of contented housewifery and full bellies,
    the mouths of children opening
    like orchids, calling, calling.

    Hungry kids will always be an inspiration to do more for them than a bother. Children are a blessing! Great word-craft clay!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is draw-droppingly dark and powerful! I’ve read it several times and find something different with each read. I felt horror at the idea of waking up to layers of bricks, which reminds me of an awful story I was told as a child of a woman who was bricked up in a wall – it haunted me for years. The watch also made a strong impression, ‘smooth as sea-glass, perfect’ – I love that it doesn’t work but always shows the right time. But, having seen the photograph, the lines that will stay with me are:
    ‘the mouths of children opening
    like orchids, calling, calling.’


    1. I wonder if we read the same story as children. Was it “The Black Cat” by Poe? It haunts me as well. There’s also a Romanian legend, Meșterul Manole (Master Manole), about a mason who sacrifices his wife for the sake of the monastery he’s building. Thank you so much for your comment, Kim!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this! So perfect. The perspective, around the knees, woman as mountain, makes one stop and ponder for sure. Stifled yet still towering. So great.


  5. Nice to read, Romana. I’m trying to relate who is writing, a tall god? The sun with head in the clouds? A tall spire on a religious building? I like the head in the clouds idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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