Pollinators. Integument. Poems by Adrienne Stevenson

Adrienne Stevenson


there's widespread interest in my flowerbed
as long summer days unfold
black and yellow swallowtails hover around dill
orange and black monarchs embrace milkweed
their respective caterpillars munch and move on
to chrysalise and metamorphose
while pullulating swarms of bees
teem around calendula and zinnia
dive into welcoming mouths
of aubergine and courgette blossom
the background hum envelops me
take care—there's a nest of angry wasps
always irritable, threatening
but working in tandem with the rest
each species to its favourite bloom


variable coverings of animate beings
are least visible in human form
all relatively smooth, only odd patches hairy
light reflects different degrees
influenced by exposure to the sun
yielding a range of ochre shades
radiation may cause surface change
appearing as tan, freckles, or more disturbing
moles that might warn of deeper alteration
some tints lend protection from ultraviolet
others enhance cholecalciferol production
each tone most suitable for its geography
but with increased mobility all are seen
around the globe — knowing this
how does it matter which colour we are?
from elephant-tusk ivory through coconut husk
to espresso's depths — it is only a trick
of the light that differentiates a coating
that cannot be presumed to reflect
the nature of the being within

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Adrienne Stevenson is a Canadian living in Ottawa, Ontario. A retired forensic scientist, she writes poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. When not writing, she tends a large garden. Her poetry has been widely published in print and online journals and anthologies, most recently in Paddler Press and the BeZine. Her stories have won prizes in several competitions. Two have been published in Byline.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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