or every time I feel
like a bird struck
by a plane & then falling

toward the world below,
I think about the day
I stumbled into Gilroy

known chiefly for its garlic—
the stench of the fields,
the Garlic Shoppe

just off the road. My tongue
ached for a taste:
how much the body

can crave a bitter brine,
be it garlic or bleach
or something more human.

& when I learn
that these plants also bloom
& blossom, I think

maybe not everything is this
or that, my heart the size
of a fist, beat a steady punch

against my ribcage, hollow
muscle I vow to follow.

Despy Boutris‘s work has been published or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, AGNI, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she lives in California and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.