Angel’s trumpet, stink wort,
Devil’s trumpet, hell’s bells:
named and named again to try
to nail its source of power.

Each petal-point a corner
of a twisted pinwheel,
swastika in purple petticoat,
these plain assassins live
demurely in the
dung and meadow.

Purest vehicle of lethal dreams,
it tunnels first behind
the victim’s eyes and lets
the night shine through
like two black moons
with the perfect symmetry
of a double barrel.

Then it sends the heart
spinning away
like a child’s top,

Soon the voices.

A few isolated laughs,
until the voices reverberate,
become a throng
that leans and bends into the moat,

that fragile moat that keeps
your mind apart from them.

It can kill you, the older kids
warn, and we study
the red pendulous berries
as if to memorize
the simple truth

that terrifies
and thrills: how easy
it would be to
eat one.

Andrea L. Fry