Plain China


by Carolyn Decker · Wheaton College
Cantaloupe, Megan Gesell · University of Vermont

New love came early this year

a skunk cabbage in the snow


its rigid pink flower rupturing the icy ground


an upturned spire of a shimmering whelk

unburied by an outgoing tide.


I was still in winter when you blossomed


more coiled than the hardwood buds

bound tight in their burgundy shawls,


while you stood radiant

unassuming in our small rolling wetland


proud to usher in the warmer days

of running sap and bird songs.


Could I find a friend in you—


your mottled skin smelling of earth and flesh

flecked with damp soil and new sunlight.


Could I lie with you—


unwrap myself beside you

here at the onset of a thaw.

About the Author

Carolyn Decker · Wheaton College

Recent graduate Carolyn Decker earned a degree in environmental science. This year, she is abroad on a Watson Fellowship, researching the connections between nature conservation and creative writing. She enjoys hiking and talking to strangers. “Symplocarpus” first appeared in Wheaton’s journal, Rushlight. You can read more of her poetry here.

About the Artist

Megan Gesell · University of Vermont

Megan Gesell started painting in high school in Chatham, New Jersey. While creating a portfolio, she developed a 12-piece concentration surrounding the idea of still lives made out of fruits and vegetables with the obvious influence of man. Cantaloupe first appeared in UVM’s Vantage Point. You can see more work by this artist here.