Poetry: Paper Flower Maiden | clivejames.com
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Paper Flower Maiden

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Screwed up in every sense, she occupied
The smallest space that she could organise:
The country mouse of all church mice. Inside,
Her soul, whose only outlet was her eyes,
Was dying of compression sickness. Then
She met him, the most confident of men.

Her agonies of manifold self-doubt
Were foreign to him utterly. One touch
From him, and she began to open out
Like a chrysanthemum. This is too much,
She told herself: I'll use up all the air.
He kissed her mouth and she was everywhere.

A tide of petals that filled up the hall
And climbed the stairs. She screamed to be put back
The way she was. He, trapped against a wall,
Struggled for breath till everything went black.
He woke to find her gone. The trail of scent
She left behind her everywhere she went

Led him towards her but he never quite
Caught up with her, until he realised
She was the flower garden which, at night,
He roamed in, half entranced, half traumatised
By how the beauty he'd set loose had no
Need of him now, yet would not let him go.