Harvesting the Rosemary
by Donna M. Davis


- after Ovid’s tale of Dryope, who was transformed into a tree for picking blossoms off the wood nymph Lotis

Fallen nymph,
your slender fingers bleed
tendrils of silvery green,
pungent from the cuts
of my well-honed shears.

At dawn I plucked your
tumbling woody sprigs,
stuffed them in a paper sack,
and shook them out
on my cold kitchen table.
Red ladybugs flew
from your broken limbs.

Tonight I enter the garden
where soil has swallowed
what’s left of you.
I see wrinkled faces in
the hearts of trees
and hear the old gods
muttering enchantments.

My ankles take root.
My body grows
a cloak of bark.
My arms are tinged
with spikes of fragrant jade.






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