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Wednesday, September 02, 2015


by Joan Colby

  The "corpse flower" at the Chicago Botanic Garden was manually opened Sunday morning after it failed to bloom, but the flower did not emit its trademark odor as expected. —NBC Chicago, August 31, 2015

At the Botanic Garden,
The corpse flower was getting ready
To bloom—a once in a lifetime affair.
Fifteen feet high, its vast hulk bulged
Ready to release the stench
That dung beetles adore,
That maggots desire.
But at the seminal moment
Spike decided it could not
Compete in a state rotten
With the stink of politicians:
Four of the last seven governors
Did time—fraud, bribery,
Racketeering, corruption.
The putrid fly leaves in the book
Of their chicaneries
Overwhelm any official flower.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press