Gamut Magazine
Issue #1


By: Kiki Petrosino

(Originally published at the Ploughshares blog.)

When the arms of the larkspur dial open
it’s only natural to want to dissolve. In the glinting haze
you have nothing to do but keep moving

inward. Here’s your realm of green sepals, tall
as knights. Your calyx sharpens over a dominion of seeds.
When the arms of the larkspur dial open

draw your wedding ring in mulch. Don’t stand
around too long. Since all parts of the larkspur are toxic
you have nothing to do. Keep moving

with patience over the hooks & buttons of sun.
July is an alkaloid tongue, sunk in botanical Latin.
But when the arms of the larkspur dial open

you can learn to climb. All the way up
to the silent blue beak at the top of your thought.
There’s nothing to do but keep moving

hand over hand. Time widens, just like your body
sealed shut in the light. An inner world hums
as the arms of the larkspur dial open.
There’s nothing for you here. Move on.

Kiki Petrosino is the author of White Blood: a Lyric of Virginia (2020) and three other poetry books, all from Sarabande. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her memoir, Bright, was released from Sarabande in 2022. She directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Virginia, where she is a Professor of Poetry. Petrosino is the recipient of a DeWitt Wallace/Readers Digest fellowship from MacDowell artist residency, a Pushcart Prize, a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, the UNT Rilke Prize, & the Spalding Prize, among other honors.