Gilding the Lily
A retired man squats and notes
The anatomy of one lily
Its ovary tucked between green folds
Specks of pollen sprinkled on shooting stems
Self-reproducing; functional beauty
He snaps the stem swiftly
It’s a phenomenon that belongs in his living room
A schoolgirl stands at another lily’s length
Petals glisten and sway like a pinwheel
She rubs its velvety petal between her thumb and forefinger
Her fingernail slices its subtle skin
Then like a lunch bell
The brakes of her school bus call her away
The shrubs grow envious of the lilies
And litter them with insults and rude names
One lily decides to change:
It pierces gold loops through its stem
And weaves ink images up its petals.
Soon all the other lilies follow suit.
The gardener is called to investigate
And what he sees makes his eyeballs go cross
He suspects it’s an invasive species
Tearing and tugging
He tosses the roots into a smokestack.
Later, everyone asks,
“Will the lilies ever grow back?”
Glossy faces, each have a name.
I flipped through smiles,
Wondering who would reach fame.
Autographs and candids of candids.
Insecure tears and neon braces.
Homecoming and spirit week
Shattered by town headlines:
Golden waves spilled
Over crisp gurney sheets.
The next day, obituaries and tattoos.
For Secret Santa that year,
I received a dingy white
Michael Kors purse
From the dead girl’s brother.
She had planned to be a nurse.
Her purse was mine,
But I sold it to the Silas Deane Pawn
Next to Spirits and Wine.
Rigors of a Broken Heart
i searched around, but no one was you
i found bits and pieces, clumps of cells
future fingers and toes so red they turned black
a film reel plays behind my eyes
like on tv its gray sac moves across the screen
the reel gets stuck on the sunrise
hung above my grandma’s stained toilet bowl
at seventeen she got married
at seventeen i flushed her first grandchild down the toilet
do fetuses have souls? i must admit i do not care
i had something, a part of you
that would’ve kept you a part of me
and i killed us
My Body is Racetrack
Napkins dabbing grease off pizza,
plastic wrappers like birds in the sky.
Geneva’s three race series,
it was a beautiful night in late July
when I almost died.
Blur of go-karts zipping around,
hicks at the speedbowl yelled 65 down.
Razor pinched between two fingers
slashing up and down.
The sting of metal still lingers
when I drive through my hometown.
My home was twenty-three hundred square feet
of new decorations each season
The Flint-stone vitamins couldn’t cure
the sense that my death would be premature.
Crouched in a coffin,
I heard my name for the last time:
a running faucet of shame.
They were off to the races; I was busy
cutting and tracing.
Haunted by the stain near the shower drain,
they downgraded me to a hundred square feet.
our family was incomplete.
My parents left me
cocooned in white sheets
and spun a story
about a new job and their favorite son.
Biographical Note: Lillian Wonderly is an undergraduate student studying creative writing at the University of Hartford. She is an editor for the University’s Literary Journal, Aerie, and for the Hartford Informer. In addition to writing poetry, she also seeks to promote the writing of others in the community.