Outcrossing by Maya Chowdry


Perfect is natural, pivotal to survival,

swallowing territory and resources

a dog-rose co-cooperates,

sucks the spores,

deflowers a poison oak.

Nature is not outraged at this sex-switching,

allows holly and duckweeds to survive together.

At different times catkins change gender,

amborella is a better mother

than a father, a floral bract stammers,

outcrossing itself into incompatibility.

Petal-partners a sunflower

beams in a paradox of

alternation and generation,

a unisexual cucumber pulls on beetroot leaves,

allows a tulip to rival its foliage.

Maya Chowdry