After August Gay’s painting “Woman in the Garden” & Alex Garland’s film “Annihilation” &
Kaveh Akbar’s poem “Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus”

August Gay, Woman in the Garden, c. 1923, oil on canvas.

in some planet-terror forming conjoining                  look at             shattered stars
their prisms     widen so wide in fact                only now       flowers bloom
what if they     or the woman              is looking          reverberating  dissolving
& now             only color        is their             morphing.

to what eye      can      i stomach        this perception               can we           stomach
this perception stomachs         the garden       remembrance                 conceptual
it’s splattering  zoom in           further i am taught to  fight it
taught to                      run from it       how about       we        embrace it.
a forest breathes          creating new life         splattering        blue nova
splattering        red eye petrify these   bewilderments above this
land                 what     do         we      become?
the trick           of         light      balancing        us        her      them
each     color    combines          prismatic         sacrifice         be still.
fade from view             hear that           be still.
observe           through              dissolution                   be still.
much   haunted           dreams through             transparency
listen   to the animals gather              transmutation     &         refraction
each    blot of color    embedding      in you                 her                   us.
you can          fight     the change,      or you  can run from                  it.
or you can embrace                be still.
look     at         all       the       flowers.