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Chryss Yost

What Now? The Corpse Flower Goes...

– The Huntington Newsletter Headline

Rotting pantaloon, how did we even then

know you would be so icky and so wondrous?

We humans disagree about the end,


though evolution teaches us to fend

for ourselves, and maybe those descending us.

Rotting pantaloon, how did we even then


know to gawk as if a one-legged can-can

dancer had gone heels up on-stage, mid-chorus.

We humans disagree about the end


in terms of when and how and born again,

yet know we will rot in a hellish sulphureous

pit of purgatorial or biological digestion.


Oh, corpse flower, diva ready to offend,

teach me how to bloom. To face death, yes,

and if we disagree about the end,


grant me grace to pass in a dramatic flush,

frills and laces out, unashamed of my excess.

If death strips us all, why the modest dress?

We humans disagree about the end.

Chryss_Yost - Chryss Yost.jpg



Chryss Yost is the author of Mouth & Fruit and two chapbooks. Her poems have been widely published in journals including Prairie Schooner, The Hudson Review, and Askew. She has co-edited numerous anthologies, including California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (with Dana Gioia and Jack Hicks) and To Give Life a Shape: Poems Inspired by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (with David Starkey). She is the co-editor at Gunpowder Press and served as Santa Barbara Poet Laureate from 2013 to 2015.

Bear Review


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