Flax (Linum usitassimum)
I walked through a crowded seaside town as sweltering summer sang with every revolution of a fan whose careful breath was felt through every open door. I did not sing along with it, thinking instead, as I paused by a window display, of a poet who said geometry was the fastest route to loveliness––Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare––The display showcased a wooden block (distressed by the human impulse to carve Beautiful onto its surface.) Euclid’s vision of beauty, I’m sure, wasn’t on sale for $29––nor was it, most likely, mass-produced.
I’ll take a piece of driftwood seasoned by the coldness of the Atlantic, a vase of sea-stones, a green glass shard rubbed smooth and made harmless by the anxious ocean who mirrors my movements. A length of linen over a table set for two, a centerpiece of salt scented with buds of lavender to tinge its hue––give me a soothing bite of vinegar––and you.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
You let me claim some space on your bookshelves and let me stay the night. We were blanketed by Arabic and Spanish songs tinged by the crystal bowl of yarrow blossoms floating in water on your nightstand.
When I woke up before you, I meant to wander into the thousand pages of your books; I got lost in you instead. The signs pointing the way around you started out in Spanish and blended into Arabic. I couldn't do anything but sound out my way back to romance.
Basil (Ocimium basilicum)
Wealth is a pot of basil on a windowsill given to a lover with a poem on the streets of Lisbon in late spring; a bunch hung in the doorway of a shop in Coyoácan where marigolds mingle with the scent of sunflower seeds toasting on a coal brazier.
Unassumingly ubiquitous, it grows wherever its seeds are sprinkled. From Bangkok to Boston, its bruised leaves smell the way flannel bedsheets feel on subzero nights.
Jordi Alonso graduated with an AB in English from Kenyon College in 2014 and was thefirst Turner Fellow in Poetry at Stony Brook University where he received his MFA. He is the Gus T. Ridgel Fellow in English at the University of Missouri where he is a PhD candidate studying the cultural transmission of nymphs in literature. He’s been published in Kenyon Review Online, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Roanoke Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017.