Melissa Studdard

I Am Giving My Planetary Embryos to the Soil

I plant sunflowers 
in my eyes, plant a massive baby 
carriage in my heart, stroll it 
empty and lace dappled beneath wagging 
Sunrich Lemon petals. My womb grows
huge with quarters. Quarter sticks of butter,
quarter horses, quarter acres, quarter notes,
quarter kegs of beer. There
are quadruplets of quarters crying 
for quartets to sing to them. I feed them
the seed of the flower that dropped on our heads,
mash it myself with a cast iron mortar and pestle,
mash a thousand pounds of seed for my 
quintuplets. They want a fifth dimension, a fifth of Jack,
a fifth avenue penthouse apartment. I pour 
five million gallons of rain into their roots, and they
stick their little green hands up through the soil,
and my womb grows, and a tufted titmouse
lands on us. I am bigger than the air
that tries to hold me. I feed my sextuplets sixty billion 
packages of suns and they scatter all over like spilled 
glitter and grow new suns! New suns! And daughters!
New non-binary seedlings and stalks! I feed them I
feed them love and they grow grow grow. They
plant sunflowers. They plant
sunflowers in my eyes.

Melissa Studdard is the author of the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the poetry chapbook Like a Bird with a Thousand Wings. Her work has been featured by PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and has also appeared in periodicals such as POETRY, Kenyon Review, Psychology Today, New Ohio Review, Harvard Review, Missouri Review, and New England Review. Her awards include The Penn Review Poetry Prize, the Tom Howard Prize from Winning Writers, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and more.