Poetry Fiction Issue

How Killer Blue Irises Spread

—Misheard health report on NPR

The quiet ones, the flowers
the neighbors said
kept to themselves,

Iris getagunandkillus, shoots

and rhizomes reaching
beneath the fence.
The shifty ones,

Mickey Blue Iris, the tubers

that pretend to be dormant
then spread late at night into
the garden of evil and no good.

They know hell, their blue flames

fooling van Gogh, the knife
he stuck into soil before he sliced
the bulbs in three, nights

he spent painting in a mad heat.

They swell before the cut
and divide of autumn.
An entire field of tulips,

flattened. Daylilies found

like lean bodies across the path.
The wild blue iris claims
responsibility, weaves through

the gladioli, into the hothouse

where the corpse flower blooms
for a single day, its scent
of death calling to the flies.

Kelli Russell Agodon was born and raised in Seattle and educated at the University of Washington and at Pacific Lutheran University, where she will graduate this year with her M.F.A. in creative writing.
Presented by

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In