He keeps such delicate little notes,
handwritten slips like ink filigree.
He posts them in manila folders,
crusted yellow and barely contained,
by giant rusted paperclips,
there is also a giant green book,
flaked gold leaf label long since gone,
and a receipt book that still squeaks
as the pen nib sweeps over it.
Surrounded by bottles, he sips tea,
jots a label, ties it with hemp string.
Music buzzes from broken bluetooth.
He hums along to a tune he can’t sing.
Label. Ledger. Journal. String.
A simple pleasure.
Hemlock. Jimson. Oleander.
Foxglove. Caladium. Hogweed.
Innocuous bottles with pretty labels.
Lined up so neatly in rows on tables.
The Earth provides such sweet revenge,
for anyone with coin to spare.
“A reminder to Mr. Bailey,
it’s the dosage that does it,
not the genus.
I prescribe two teaspoons, daily.”
Charl Landsberg is a South African poet, musician, artist, and writer who’s work often focusses on issues like social justice, feminism, LGBTQIA rights etc. Their work also often focusses on science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction.