Denude the bushes after dark, each pink 

azalea plucked because of one remark —

rhododendrons could kill honeybees.  Think 

details, death recipes on your knees. Stark 

foliage fingers disgrace, frail flowers 

you bury in a pillowcase, not waste —

— exchange bloom for doom, demonic powers

purloined while he would consume taste 

of nectar on a neck.  Remove all clothes 

to be circumspect.  Pestle pistils, you

will granulate mauve, a poultice, rose,

on lustrous skin, resolved, Lake Desire, to 

avenge a murder of your only kin —

poisoned offering you will make of skin. 

Author’s Note: 
Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream is my poetic novella about a sixteen year old girl dying of scarlet fever in 1883 Pensacola.  We follow the lives of her invented characters after her death.  This poem is about the soul surviving lemon tree twin foundling who wrongly blames a young demon for her sister’s death.  Since she determines that this demon shares the  qualities of a bee, she learns from the gardener about rhododendrons as potentially poisonous to bees and coats herself in a poultice of bushes of them — a death recipe.

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker.  Her sonnets have stalked magazines like Five: 2: One, Yes, Glass, Luna Luna, Occulum, Drunk Monkeys, and other places.  She is the author of eleven books of poetry including Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press) and Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (The Hedgehog Poetry Press) and the forthcoming Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press, 2020) and Dewy Decimals (Arkay Artists, 2020).  Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website (

Image: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash