Peony

Hannah Louise Poston

It’s come unlatched, the sloppy silk fist
unhinging like a jaw as if
to swallow something bigger than itself—

it’s come to this: the cleft
shavings of truculent flesh,
this precipice, this breath

exhaled three-quarters-of-the-way
then held—an exoskeletal shadow-play,
a suspended study in delay,

like an empty house
relaxing into anonymity,
like a woman who’s unbuttoned her blouse

but wears it still, her nudity
a possible impossibility—