The wide arms of
the purslane
scroll out into the limestone
path like a Persian love
poem. When tugged

it gives itself up
easily, only to
twine back out like
how I want to become
air in the
shape of a bird. Not

only air, but the burden
of breath in profusion.
Not only love, but silver-
tipped leaves that
breathe on each other. Not
only profusion, but the precision
of bloom.

Rita Rouvalis Chapman’s poetry has appeared most recently in Sheila-Na-Gig, Mortar, The Connecticut River Review, and the anthology 56 Days of August. She is a student in the MFA program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and teaches high school English.