Graphite sketch of petunias in dark green

a plated sestina

a Sestina originally read aloud on the Learning to Fly podcast

A Plated Sestina, Learning to Fly Podcast

Originally published by Learning to Fly Podcast, January 2022
Pea Flower Tomioka

A Plated Sestina

It wouldn't have mattered how deeply he Loved
If he couldn't pretend that it was a scripted Story.
Like I am princess to his champion Heart-
I hated how docile he expected me to Become.
I didn't promise to be distressed for the sake of Formality
In the fog of his abusive Mouth.

Inside my Mouth
I can taste the memory of everything I ever Loved.
Lost to the nuance of a rigid Formality
Form and expectation to strangle this Story
Before our paths could merge. Become
Something greater than a pair of Hearts.

I hated myself for forgoing my true Heart.
My deepest love.  My humid Mouth
Trailing downward, his skin becoming
The only way I could remember how to feel Loved
A reality to bookend the Story
My first husband abandoned as a Formality,

But my true love does not stand on ceremony.  No Formality
To clutter this Heart,
Or how we rewrite the trauma in my Story
With the cock he offers like sacrifice upon my Mouth
I am well Loved
And loved as such to never fear what we can Become.

Because it is only how we Become
Tangled amongst the Formality
Of feeling so Loved
Heart to Heart
Mouth to Mouth
Thrusting fists to rewrite our old Stories

And stacking evenings in firelight like a bookcase of Stories
Unable to stop the orgasms we promise we will Become
A praise we hold silent in falling snow, catching at the Mouth
Of firelight licking, casting shadows to chase away Formality
Again, unescapable beating Hearts
To climax beneath Winter's bedsheets- scenes so well writ we Loved

Them unironically, building the fairy tale Story.
A technicality of Formality

To sing the generational tales of what our skin has Become.
Diamond points of light hunting bow to how we fawn and buck and Hart

To reawaken the taste of new marriage in our Mouths
After a lifetime of famine, we are fed.  Nourished. Loved.

Tomioka, Pea Flower. "A Plated Sestina", Learning to Fly Podcast, January 2022.


signature in green which reads "pea flower tea" with the flower depicted as a hand drawn flower design.



Form Rules

A Sestina is a specific format for poetry that consists of six stanzas with six lines each, and three envois (or couplets) to close.  The last word of each of the first six lines of the first stanza are repeated as the last line through all of the following stanzas.  The specific format is depicted below in the sestina chart.

Stanza 1: A, B, C, D, E, F
Stanza 2: F, A, E, B, D, C
Stanza 3: C, F, D, A, B, E
Stanza 4: E, C, B, F, A, D
Stanza 5: D, E, A, C, F, B
Stanza 6: B, D, F, E, C, A
Envoi: B, E
Envoi: D, C
Envoi: F, A

Using the poem above and placing it in the stanza key here, we can see the first stanza setting up the assigned words as follows:

A= Loved
B= Story
C= Heart
D= Become
E= Formality
F= Mouth

It is encouraged to play with the spelling and meanings or intentions of your assigned words.  An example given within this poem is the use of both "Heart" and "Hart".

About the author

Pea is an artist focused on building an art therapy platform through transformative art and positive erotica to help victims of sexual violence reclaim their power. She lives on a small island and hides from loud noises.