Stalk Talk – Jennifer Maloney

I heard the commotion last night,
the panic, the screams.
Watched you, flung
from the window
at the edge of this beanfield
where I, too,
am planted.

I stood sturdy, for beans
are brave.

your ascendence, your first small
poke up fast, spread
and rise,
unleashed from this earth like a howl,

Already, giant
billow like sails, and fruit
the size of sailing ships swells
from an exuberance
of tendrils running out
in all directions.

You enchant me.

Your stalk, thick as a trunk.
Your blossoms untwist, open
orange throats.
Standing stamens wink
with pert attention
above lolling petal tongues.

You deity.

Your body
could feed them all:
the starvelings that tossed you
like trash into this field, the village,
the kingdom itself with your fruit,
and sweetening
in the sun.

They could harvest today
What might nourish them for years;
save your seeds,
plant your progeny,
grow giant beans

Just in case though, my lovely,
my beautiful beanstalk, in case
they are stupid,
don’t realize what you offer,
see you only
as a monster,
a curiosity, something
to use
to get them somewhere
to something
they can never eat—swing

one gorgeous, drowsy,
nodding flower-head
above me. Drizzle
some of your magic, golden dust
down here. Who are we kidding?
These fools won’t bring baskets,
just an axe.

Kiss me now,

I’ll keep the secret of your love
until next year, when they’ll all
have killed each other off
in pursuit of golden eggs
and singing harps.
When summer comes again,
our huge-headed babies will sprout
from our rot, and butterflies
and ravens will feast. Kiss me now.
My whole vine shimmies
at the thought.

Jennifer Maloney is a past president of Just Poets, Inc., a poetry organization based in Rochester, NY, and co-editor of Moving Images: Poetry Inspired by Film, forthcoming from Before Your Quiet Eyes Press. Find Jennifer’s work in The Whorticulturalist, Anti-Heroin Chic, Panoply, Ghost City Review and other literary magazines and journals and several anthologies. Jennifer is happiest when finding ways to connect writers with writers.