Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Christian Ward

Photo by Ryanniel Masucol on

Hydnora africana

Emergence brings a land based starfish.
Mottled lava-hard skin on this flower.
Strawberry margarita flesh. Opening
reveals Hydra heads: extras
from Little Shop of Horrors. Stitches
for teeth. Of course, we can’t forget
the faeces smell. Dung beetle groupies
willing to sacrifice themselves
to spread the Hydnora across a continent.
Once stuck, there’s no going back.
What’s left is the Hydnora bearing
its fruit: pulsing, underground, beating
with the sound of a million consumed hearts.
And the grub-like seeds, waiting for their prize,
their stage.


Macropinna microstoma

Pause the YouTube video.
An astronaut helmet dome
filled with fluid grabs you first.
Focus on the ping-pong lens,
fake-green. Green like candy –
lurid as a bad B-movie playing
at a cinema filled with wolves.
Observe how still it is. Still not
like a soldier but someone
meditating. Does its eyes
oscillate between states?
Look how they binocular
towards you, how they observe
fault lines clear like food
dangling from a siphonophore.


Atretochoana eiselti

Rubber tubing fetish = my best Google search.
Ignore the dick jokes. Thirteen
passed long ago – like the silver birch
unpeeling like his face.
Ignore how his body
screamed inside. Edvard Munch’s
The Scream knocking against a ribcage bedsit.
how it cannot breathe
must fight
against currents
against earth.
How strange
and purple this creature is.
Do children turn into snakes?
the hissing
the metallic hiss


Feathery sea pen
Virgularia schultzei

An aquatic quill
capturing the ocean’s
(sorbet if you squint)
from what is absorbed.
Pity not
the micro plankton
witnessing it before
being consumed. Even
comes to a standstill
it has finished.

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