by Kris Hiles.
CW: sexual assault
On the surface, "plantlove" is deceptively simple. Reading through, one can easily miss the subtle layers built into the words. This a poem that speaks of trauma in a language of trauma, layers that are not quite metaphor. The words wander over themselves in a swirl that will swallow you, and, taken to heart, make you lose your appetite.
Alone, each section is powerful, but taken together, the nuance and complexity build. Flower images mix with food images, bitterness and violence mix with the confrontation of phrases like: I bet you didn’t think I was the type to cry alone in bathtubs, / or rub sugar in my wounds. The wrenching pain near the poem's conclusion also deserves to be acknowledged: I remember feeling sick, hiding in the closet / eating chocolate body paint with a spoon.