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Siwar Masannat

a plant—


          with clarity—coat open:

orchid, andromeda, pepper

wet inside.           A plant

          a still- but still life—lit

discovered, on a botanist’s

mechanical stage, an oval eye


north on a cylindrical eyepiece,

a southern iris diaphragm, open

          field to direct a botanist’s

dream. Thick, cut peppered

          across, above lip—

                              a plant


watches a mouth, no plant-

built instrument for eye

         needed—not split.

No strands account for it. A plant opens,

shoots seeds, stings— a scorpion pepper

          — a botanist


          sneezes. Fog-thick—a botanist

squeezes an objective lens—a plant

shrugs flowers off, wrinkles pepper-

textured, crunch to circumference.

A plant watches a botanist open

          fist around arm, however lit


          shoots deny a fit:

          a square a botanist

fails to sit around a circle. Open

          limit to spores— a plant

strips brackets, what taxes eyes—

vanilla, andromeda, pepper.


          Coarse or fine, a pepper

blows to nosepiece, illuminator

now juice-graved—strip to eyes

          tears flood a botanist’s

          lids.                  Plants

          a plank open—


          growing eyes—

pepper—leads to leaves, roots—

unlit— a botanist can’t clip.



corner ant climbs

yellow spear


earth vibrates


hair under a train

of palms





we listen: cats, birds to land

ends—you bend your wrist

upright—my heart hops past

                    its limit

from What meat is it we need?


[                                 ]


Ask me once to shed this wooden

deadpan tongue, say it plainly, I

went forward never

afraid that reality could be linear.


Time in a hat is no time at all:

years pass, provided a hat’s survival.

Crack this nut. I feel fears

shells have on the onset of breaking.


Lives are detailed by living parts: a noose

outlives the air inside it. Nostrils like

graves where hairs grow. I

thought how the wind would


force the door shut. A bang,

suspense. Ask me once if

she lived well—dead air in

trench. Ask how knees hang.  

Siwar Masannat poems

Siwar Masannat is a Jordanian writer and the author of 50 Water Dreams (Cleveland State University Poetry Center  2015). She is currently pursuing a PhD in poetry at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Her work has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in Kohl: journal for body and gender research, Whiskey Island,  Drunken Boat, and Eat Local::Read Local, among others.

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