Phalaenopsis & Velvet under glass

By Clem Flowers



Your family told tale when you were young that a stork put a gem under a leaf of cabbage out in the farmlands & your parents made a wish & in a way they were right you were born of the earth but not the fairytale commercial that they offered you were born of kudzu & silk & the sugarcane reads that ripped your kin's hands to shreds & the breath fills your lungs like an orchid's petals coming into bloom & it has always been that way for you even when you were young you knew the other kids were going to harass to bully to ridicule you weren't tiny hillbilly Nostradamus divining the leaves of the Lipton's your mom brewed on the stove for sweet tea you just understood you were different you grew fast but even with those long dandelion limbs you still to this day aren't entirely sure how to keep from whipping out like spindles of grass in a thrasher's beak in the high rain you always felt pinned in you always felt smothered you always felt like you couldn't stretch enough that there was something weighing you down an albatross burned into the front of your skull like the third eye you heard your cousin tell you about as you listened to Bob Marley with him & you realize later was the first time you ever smelled weed in your life but you didn't know how to put a name on what it is you felt so you went on & on to all the laughter & joy & heartache & low tides & so many stolen moments out beneath the high- strung lights of downtown in the big time that you'd always dreamed of when you spied the lights of your little Heaven up over the safety net that was the trees out behind the house you grew up in & hollered 80's songs while sprinting down the street & trying to work through a hangover & so so so so many tears that came like sudden fog in the early morning you could never explain & then you moved far far far over all the greens out to the red swirling peaks of desolation & the cacti you came to adore & then you were there with your wife & you were living life so high & free & still & still the tears rolled & now there was someone there to try & help you figure out why & then you were watching & listening & reading the works of all these amazing creative people that you adored & admired & they taught me a word I never knew a word I hadn't heard in the buckle of the Bible Belt a word that would make most folks there cock their head & ask if you were becoming an electrician or something & that word is


n o n b i n a r y


& saying that aloud about yourself as your wife & cat watch & listen from her work at home station & are then quick to come out as you hit your knees happy crying & for the first time in forever, you can feel the flowers in your lungs come to full bloom


 

Clem Flowers

they/them

From Statesboro, Georgia

Currently residing in Truth, Utah