Feel, if you can, the agony…

by Lyndsay Coo

Feel, if you can, the agony

of Daphne:

each cell in your body

(and these,

they are countless)



buds a vacuole.


This feels

like an all-over choking,


this feels

like the love

of a boa.


Then your toenails

thicken to root,



from your skin



into topsoil.


You feel

the bump and the scrape

of every rock all the long way down.


This hurts.

Legs fuse to a trunk,


heavy bark screaming




sprinting upwards


over legs, hips, sex, chest, neck…


with a warm gasp

a breathless sigh


closing over your head,

a barky straitjacket


(for if you were not mad before,

you are now).


This is metamorphosis.

Your head nods in the breeze,

blood thins to sap.

Sprout a whisper of leaves,

heart rattles

like an abacus.