Dame Onion
Brian J. Buchanan

Dame Onion

Daimonion of the vegetal cry,
Dame Onion, if you will,
inner guide, outer force,
open your muckland breath upon
this small, dense meadow,
five years uncut, jailed
by pines, open your breath upon
its brambly florals crying madly
from leaf to bud to stem,
conduct it, Dame Onion, trailing your trains of thistles,
slowly back to forest.

Already a sapling rises: maple.
Unless it likes muck it won’t live,
likes flowering creepers tangled with thorns
and overtall grass here and there matted like hair.
Goldenrod sways in cheap majesty
choking a daisy unwisely strayed
beyond a skinny flowerbed’s stones.
In anguished jumbles of muddy grass
slid through by garter snakes,
under a riot of weeds, a buttercup
graces Proserpina’s hair
as she sinks into the mire.
Billows and bursts of gnats and dandelion seeds
form her cries.

You can’t cross the meadow now
without risking
setting your foot
in something
newborn or dead.

Dame Onion works.
Dame Onion’s fetid lungs
breathe up secrets: nests, mole holes, ferns,
eggs secreted who knows where.
A porcupine might trundle through,
avoiding the shocking gong of sun.

Sun falls; I inhale
sighed shadowings of change,
hidden dens now suspected
within. I watch.
Planets track across the welkin,
above the stalks, the seeds, the whispering blooms.

Dame Onion beckons
in cloud-torn, moon-white gown.

Brian J. Buchanan

has contributed poems to Puckerbrush Review, Valley Voices, Potomac Review, and other journals. His book reviews have been published in the Tennessean (Nashville) and In Concert, the magazine of the Nashville Symphony. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Juda.