True North

My true north looks like a bird of paradise
or — what’s it called? That flower that
looks like it has a penis standing
right up out of the center? Caladium?
No? Anyway, that’s what it looks like:
Some kind of flower that’s also a bird
that’s also some dude’s genitals. I know.
If I could choose again, I totally would,
but I didn’t choose it the first time,
and I think that once these things
are set, there’s no going back.
It’s like trying to change your
name, or some detail about
your life, your history,
when you’re in college.
You’ll answer to it and
claim it as yours, but
it won’t ever ring true.
Not really. True north is
like that, too, so I’ll be
guided by embarrassing plants
with flagrant, panting tongues
forever, will seek them even in
the dead of winter, in greenhouses
and hothouses wherever I go. Even now,
I build for them a jungle in my mind.


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