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Red crop milk of the greater flamingo makes the blue sky blush
each dusk. At last, love has woven itself into my life like a rumor. It bleeds

into every dream and atmosphere, every bite, so even the hot white
cream of rice I eat while reading our synastry before I sleep turns

rose. Red crop milk of the greater flamingo carries carotenoids
to the magenta neck of a pink gladiolus bloom, one of twelve that burst

from a single spike, each with its trio of anthers dancing atop the ovary
just like the joyous ladies on the three of cups whose chalices tilt

to spill red crop milk of the greater flamingo. Gladioli transubstantiate
the water in my bedside vase from clear to crimson, while your moon

touches my Venus and my Mars dwells in your eighth house, so our home
would be a haven and the rest is too carnal to tell without blushing

fuchsia. Red crop milk of the greater flamingo infuses every form of life
with that delicate animal tenderness—you know, the way a heart beats

inside a creature feathered or furred, or beneath grasses in the wind, deep
under the pelt of the earth, or under my skin as I lie here thinking of you,

blue. Red crop milk of the greater flamingo pulses through the puddle
of porridge my brain has become because when I fall in love, love bleeds

into everything. Just imagine how it must be for the maker, the mind
behind creation who weaves it all together in an expansive act of love, who

makes red crop milk of the greater flamingo, who sees the florist’s neon
sign in space and decides to send sumptuous bouquets of magenta-necked

gladioli stems to a few particular stars. The consequent outburst of stellar
delight is explosive, and that’s how earth is born. Earth’s umbilical cord

contains red crop milk of the greater flamingo. Imagine what it’s like to be
the one who wove and weaves and weaves, whose love and longing to be

loved bleeds through every seen and unseen strand of life: the lonely inability,
because you’re God, to write in ink I must go to bed O go with me go with
me. Red crop milk of the greater flamingo tints three gray-downed chicks
light pink. At night it drips slowly from my pineal gland into the diocese

of my brain that’s obsessed and blue because I can’t write go with me 
to one who’s already tugged a garter from the thigh of his bride. At night it

drips: red crop milk of the greater flamingo drips, converts an earthly feeling
into a thing divine, transforms my blue to violet, purest violet of the seventh

ray, meaning even if I can’t have you, I can love you
anyway. And I can love the lonely one who wove you, anyway.




This poem borrows phrases from the following: a poem by Sulpicia, a first-century Roman teenager, translated from Latin by the author (“At last, love has woven itself into my life like a rumor”); “Love Song,” a poem by William Carlos Williams (“I lie here thinking of you”); and the letter Beethoven wrote to his “immortal beloved” (“I must go to bed O go with me go with me”). The greater flamingo nourishes its young with crop milk that is red in color.



Rose DeMaris has poems in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Alaska Quarterly Review, Roanoke Review, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at Columbia, where she teaches.




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