Red Trillium

Sanguine clot on an altar of white,
singular or sparse clustered, dripped
as from a painter’s brush, smudged
blood print against a vernal shroud, tripartite

leafed, yellow exclamations hold its center.
Wakerobin, birth-ease, red eye amidst
the common trillium, by what myth
is your incongruity clarified or entered

but by a woman conjured to a fleeing doe,
a hunter’s arrow in her haunch,
sheds carmine droplets at the run, staunched
heart’s last beat on a drift of snow.

Or this bracted trinity stamped and signed,
christus wound on a medieval weave,
spring ascension through wintered leaves,
a stigmata seeped from fallowed ground.

Take your pick, but do not pick — ephemeral,
fleeting, it won’t outlive design or fact
nor be contained by what a verse constructs.
Crimson flame, blossom carnate and poetical,

what is legend but that encountered
by soul or mind is feared, or a loss we can’t abide? —
a lover cast to a roaring God-frothed tide,
a flaring comet, a small rare red flower.


Lisa McCabe

Lisa McCabe reads and writes in Lahave, Nova Scotia, Canada. She studied film at York University and English Literature at The University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She has published poems in The Sewanee Review, Better Than Starbucks, Limestone Review, Black Bough, and various online and print journals. Although she no longer lives in Worcester, Massachusetts, she considers All Saints Episcopal Church, her home congregation.


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