• Marías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Seán Griffin

Updated: Aug 2

Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods

for Takuto Kashiki



Please consider the marigold

whose ripple petals & slight sweet scent

repels pests seeking to feast

on the cucumbers, melons, asters

sharing soil. And if we were merely


nine centimeters tall, would we shrug

off our anthropocentric, and other centrist,

ways like letting out a breath

we didn’t realize we were holding?

If we think smaller, we could be


companions like the marigolds. A blueberry

can be shared, its skin used to dye with acorn

caps, each seed picked and planted. We can

reside in the hollows of trees and not itch

with the urge to fell them. Our labor,


the gliding knife over a wet stone, a towel’s twill

clumped with oil and rust, our tools kept well,

our callouses plucking a harp, our song

making the artifacts dance, won’t be our all. We need


a reminder that we’re small and

reliant like how the growing, swelling

melon, its cupped flowers, wrinkled leaves

are protected by the marigold against

the even smaller aphid.




*Griffin submitted three poems simultaneously: "Poetry Worksheet", "Hakumei & Mikochi", and "Forget Me Not." Here is background information regarding these three poems: These poems address themes of alienation, separation, and belonging. These themes, to me, are necessary as our growing digital connectivity and global awareness creates a longing and loneliness. Such feelings are captured in this work, and my writing in general, as I find I'm not so substantially in one box or another. As my surname might suggest, I'm a creature of dichotomies. This informs my writing as I use high and low language to connect the different cultures within myself such as the blue collar, literary, genderfluid, and queer cultures which are all vying for voice within the work, and I believe through my use of language, I’m accomplishing this. My approach to poetry can be described as Romantic poetic sensibilities in the style of the Confessional poets, while approaching the Nihilistic absurdity of our age.

Note: "Hakumei & Mikochi" is an ekphrastic poem responding to manga series of the same names, and I note the manga creator just under the title.


Seán Griffin (he/her) received an MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. Seán's writing has appeared in The Southampton Review, Selcouth Station Press, Impossible Archetype, Dust Poetry Magazine, Non.Plus Lit, Sonic Boom, TERSE. Journal, The Daily Drunk, Electric Town Lit, and elsewhere, with poetry in [PANK] Magazine, The Mud Season Review, Mineral Lit Magazine, Ghost City Review, and The Hellebore forthcoming. Seán teaches writing at Concordia College of New York, is an editor for Inkwell Literary Journal, and lives in New York with three dogs. 

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