440,249 Aconitum maximum Wolfsbane 06-16-20 0814 PDT

by Caroline Goodwin

peoples have smeared aconite on their arrows
and spears for hunting wolves, whales, foxes,
bison as the nectary of the plant resembles
the tooth, the new collected, an urchin spine
or fossil, ammonite, spiral shell, bookshelf
you built me and petals underfoot, I mean it, I
mean things have always been cruel, I mean this
new season will heal the certain dark, borrowed
shears, spring drizzle and lie awake listening now
peoples have smeared aconite on their arrows
and hands for the poison road and famine, bringing
bouquets and a famous cat, singing me sparrow
hawk, alleyway, skyscraper, amulet, inkwell, glass
carrot you know you can’t have everything, the flat
and bitter fragment, which are notes of the old song,
the sparks refracted, your language a silver marrow,
peoples have smeared aconite on their arrows


Caroline Goodwin is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford (1999-2001). Her books are Custody of the Eyes (dancing girl press, 2019), The Paper Tree (Big Yes Press, 2017), Peregrine (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and Trapline (JackLeg Press, 2013). Her recent poem ‘Snaketime III’ was awarded runner-up by Carl Phillips in The Sewanee Review poetry contest 2019. She lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay area.