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Vampire Plants Talk to Their Victims While Drinking

There is a waxing // for every waning.

Poetry | Wine, poetry
June 6, 2022

This piece is part of the Wine notebook, which features original art by Su Yu-Xin.

Lately I’ve been moved
by how quickly you lean

into my touch, fear
in the past. I now understand

the horned oni king, cradling
his human wife, three eyes

blinking in exquisite dilemma:
whether he loves her

too much to eat her, or enough.
Patience and adoration the required

ingredients in aged wine, young
wives, rich liquid swirls

within cups and cheeks, lips
and bottles, viscous, viscus.

The vines of the vampire
plant swell around words

we don’t say: parasite, addiction,
sister witchweed, cousin

broomrape, limbs tangled
around crops, lawns, bodies,

gentle susurrus since a host
tastes better if you talk to it

as it dies: I’m here for you,
I feel your pain
. There is a waxing

for every waning. First,
I lose sleep and peace, then comes

the pallor. I don’t pull away.
Around us is a constant

cadence, an ancient clinging,
almost a song—I could live

without you, but why?