Lisa Trudeau

Lady Slipper

Look you say – orchids veined like human hearts
Blushed and pulsing under late May pines
Pick one and they all die

This thought inhabits you. It will not leave as thoughts should. It grows out of your mind and
into the room. Magic. Mutation. Medication cannot harry it away. You will not eat. Thought
spoils food. You cannot sleep. Thought lurks in dreams. You cannot leave the bed. Thought
squats in every room, comfortable and patient.

Cypripedium meaning Venus slipper, acaule without stem, as leaves rise green and wide from
the base, uninterrupted stalk mounts to pink lipped petals, puffed, coronary, cleaved, thumping
with color on the right forest floor – right acidity, right moisture, right light. They grow in
families, perennially bound far below the visible bloom. Symbiotic.

shift her
with sweetgrass with sage
smudge sickness from her chemistry
purge impulse through sand and ash
saturate her
at the end of a day at the end of a dry dark season
roll her down from heavy skies
then ember her
stoke her bright again
with blueberry branch
blossoming white bells

Things take time.
Eight years from flower to seed.
Lady Slipper is easily disturbed
in her moss-mound bed, curtained by ferns,
broken by browsing deer.
Things take time.

A chickadee alights on your window sill,
Tilts its eye toward you then flits away.
Look you say, When I was a child, they would land in my hand.


Lisa Trudeau is a former publishing professional and independent bookseller. She lives in Massachusetts. Recent work has been published by or is forthcoming from Typehouse Literary Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Levee Magazine, and Dreich Magazine among others.