Black Iris Sonnet

Knees worn green, hands clayed
with sand & muck, I wear my life
pursuit, no less a bruise. I persist
bed making in sweat & stain
for idylls in spring. What emerges
from such ambition? My open palm
cradles each seed, sun-dried hope
from a three-chambered pod
like a frog heart, amphibious
throb of suckle & thrust.
The organic engine muscles
Demeter’s alchemy,
a knuckled promise held tight.
There is no vanity in birth.

Tanya Grae teaches at Florida State University while pursuing her doctorate. In 2016, she won the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Prize, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa, and her manuscript was a finalist for the 2016 Four Way Books Intro Prize. She is the author of the chapbook Little Wekiva River (Five Oaks Press, 2017), and her poems have recently appeared in AGNI, New Ohio Review, Fjords, New South, The Los Angeles Review, Barrow Street, Post Road, and elsewhere. Find out more at: