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  Table of contents Issue Twenty-two COMING UP ROSES


Mother buried them all in the garden,

With headstones of dandelions and beer cans,

Littered about like so many bones,

For scavengers and strays.

She doesn’t hear their cries,

But I do.

A faceless father is no father at all,

Just the smell of whiskey

The sound of shoes on the porch,

Springs cutting through the night.

We don’t wait for him,

But she does.

Something is growing inside me,

Poppies and gladiolas sprouting up through my flesh.

I pull my sweater tight around me

Even when it’s hot.

I think she’ll ask why,

But she doesn’t.

At dinner I cough up a pile of dirt.

My plate is filled with soil and worms.

She clears the dishes and cries,

Why do I have to do this now?

He is coming tonight.

She is painting and curling and waiting,

I am sprouting and soiling and shaking.

Petals of crimson fill my mouth,

A thorn has grown from my thumb.

She buried them in the garden,

And now the garden is me.




Brooke Warra's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Sanitarium Magazine, Under the Bed, and The Lift among other outlets.

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