Vermillion anthers

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This article was published 7/4/2016 (2280 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

National Poetry Month: Basma Kavanagh reads Vermillion anthers


Vermillion anthers

                                           and gold, and deep yellow-orange. Magenta petals, thread-like

leaves, scarlet stems and bees, everywhere, bees.


We sit in, on, under, within the grass. Big bluestem gestures lewdly, splendidly upward, palmate

spikelets scratching the sleek underside of sky.


Aphids find themselves suddenly hitching a ride. They orient themselves so slowly,

clamber over landscapes of seam and cuff,


pause to negotiate the tailed and burrowing awns, mosquitoes and seeds piercing our layers

of clothing, forcing hidden skin 


to the surface with sensation. Dragonflies whirr and rattle, clack their jaws shut around

the soft bodies of insects orbiting


our cloud of carbon dioxide, our wreath of sweat smell, oily heat. Crumpled grasses inscribe

symbols into the skin of our hands,


maps layered onto maps. This intersection of leaf and skin, soil, roots, hips, torsos—a snarl of vessels

and pores, bodies pressed


into earth by more than the force of gravity.



Basma Kavanagh is a poet, visual artist, and letterpress printer originally from Nova Scotia who recently relocated from Brandon, Manitoba to Carbonear, Newfoundland. She produces artist's books under the imprint Rabbit Square Books. She is the author of the chapbook A Rattle of Leaves (Red Dragonfly Press, 2012), the collections Distillō (Gaspereau Press, 2012), and Niche (Frontenac House Press, 2015). Kavanagh’s poem Coda, about a world after humans, was a finalist for the 2014 CBC/Canada Writes Poetry Prize.

The Winnipeg Free Press will be running poems by Manitoba poets every weekday in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. The NPM in the WFP Project was edited by Ariel Gordon.