Molly Bess Rector


The fallout fields grow daisies with faces
stuck together in a permanent kiss.
Not the result, necessarily, of radiation, but still
you can trace in them certain obsessions:
how the cells fold and redouble, genes not content
to stop after producing just one eye.

In another life, my sister and I are mutants.
We like the word ‘split,’
we stroke its sweetness with our tongues,
admire it like a god: that which gave us form.

In this life, we are simply lucky—separate, intact—
our mother’s body the godlike thing,
the hardworking thing that wouldn’t stop at one.

Not so unusual, these kinds of anomalies,
a body’s odd compulsion to do more
than enough, to produce, say, the two eggs,
two hundred white petals
now bending to the grass the single daisy stem.

My sister tells me her blood sings to her.
And perhaps the singing is why she splits
the south, takes weeks driving
Northwest from New Orleans—
sleeping in her car at national parks,
her profanities blooming glossy against traffic, burnished—
learning to quiet that racket in the veins.

She takes the practical approach to nuclear destruction,
insisting we should live in Portland
while we still can, before the radiant electrified waves
make it across the Pacific.

Molly Bess Rector lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she co-curates the Open Mouth Reading Series. A former Edward F. Albee fellow, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bear Review, Hobart, The New Guard, and Nimrod, among others. Find her on Twitter at @mollybessrector.