Persephone in Recovery

By Ariel Machell

wasn’t i once in love
with the world,

in love with spring
and the trumpeting?

the trumpeting of green, 
the pink gullet 

of a tulip open wide
for greedy noses?

there are children in the garden
on the precipice of sound

mimicking the human voice,
vascular lungs

supping at the perfume
of soil, watered

with wooden pails 
drawn from the well,

that deep place
i know 

too well

flitting in on the warmth
of the air: a sweetness

how it swims in the jelly, glints
in the wet of the eye…

was i not once fluent
in the discourse of pollen?

yarrow and thistle heaving
with the business of bees

the milk of each breath: a blessing,
olfactory bliss—

can i not still feel 
both vast and small 

in the hastening
of the wind, 

in the whoosh
of a heart’s sigh?

marvel at a polyp
of red juice, 

its capacity
to stain?

i want to be the sea gull
i saw that day

perched triumphant
in a pomegranate tree


Ariel Machell is a poet from California. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon and is an Associate Poetry Editor for Northwest Review. Her work has been nominated for Best New Poets, and is published or forthcoming in The McNeese Review, Birdcoat Quarterly, Midway Journal, trampset, The Pinch, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her work at

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