SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Desperate Beauty

—I paint flowers so they will not die. 

Frida Kahlo


We are watchers, Frida—

aching but obedient to light,


resurrected by shocks of color.

Mornings you pluck


bougainvillea or pearly

gardenias, plait them in your hair


above your brow. I shadow

the fire of spring poppies


and the profusion of lilacs

and pink hydrangea.


With the organ pipe cactus,

you spike a sage-green fence


on the borders of La Casa Azul

tuned to the rhythms of sun


and rain—its lavender-white

flowers tint while you sleep.


Our love-eyes like greedy

tongues lick the rare-red


of wild angel trumpets.

We are aficionados. Pregnant


with joy in the garden’s cosmos.

We pursue hues like lovers’


lips, stalk columns of yellow

calla-lilies, praise the allure


of honey-petalled sunflowers

and the lobes of violet irises.


We thrive on iridescence—

our eyes attuned to its blessing.


Watchers. We bend near

in reverence to the bloom—


all pain humbled, stilled

for a time by beauty.

Gail Goepfert, an associate editor at RHINO Poetry, is a Midwest poet, photographer, and teacher. She is the author of A Mind on Pain (2015), Tapping Roots (2018), and Get Up Said the World (Červená Barva, 2019). Recent or forthcoming publications include Kudzu House, Stone Boat, Postcard, Poems and Prose Magazine, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, and Beloit Poetry Journal. See more at gailgoepfert.com.

The Flowering Pear