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Katharyn Howd Machan

When each flower opens
it holds a tiny one:
crow, perhaps, or mouse,
or maybe even the jaws
of a snake, its mottled
smooth skin stolen. Tulips
are famous for housing
fairies–at least the ones
that don’t steal children–
but when winter goes on
and on, they start to call
for death. Mole cranium,
bones of a rat, teeth
of a sacred hare. Don’t
look too close when snow
is falling: you might find
your own head there.

Image by William Wolak