PoetrySummer 2019

2019 Sweet Corn Contest Poetry Winner: Watching Carnations Wilt – Elaine Olund

So white. Dirty-edged though, like snow
charcoaled with car exhaust

Pale creamy, smooth as baby’s skin
as my skin was once
when azaleas bloomed under Spanish moss

I remember being a baby, do you?
Remember being a seed and also, an egg—
apart and then: collision.
Remember rooting, endless rooting
then pang, pull, push, tug?

So white. Tight-ruffled bud smelling sweet
like my mother’s lotioned hands, almond-cherry

I remember having a baby, too.
Wonder if you remember being planted deep
in-dwelling, then emerging?
How you pushed like a June lily, stargazer
sunny-side up?

I remember you: pollen on your nose
crawling in the dark loam
singing to the peonies, soprano songs
gone, gone, like you are gone,
900 miles off under a hotter sun—

So white. Gathered tight as an apron edge
mama frying up eggs, bacon on the breeze

I remember being held tight, do you?
Remember being a melon swelling belly
remember kicking my way out.

So white. Deckled like old photographs, the ones silvering
now in drawers, dirty-edged from fingers and time

I remember letting go, do you?
Remember bolting, blowing seedy in the trees
a flurry, like snowflakes, falling, falling.


Elaine Olund writes, draws, designs and teaches yoga & creativity workshops in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her poetry and fiction have been published recently in The Ocotillo Review, Peregrine Journal, Turk’s Head Review, and others. Find more of her writing at elaineolund.com.

The author: Eric Williams