He plucks your shin bones from your flesh and presses
them between his fingers until he can dust his garden
with what was once you. His inventory:
1. The poppies. Red as the circles of hell, as
Homer’s sea. He is often on his knees for them,
marveling at the lazy fire they stoke in the
human body, huffing reassurances about himself,
about his mother’s people.
2. The sunflowers. With these he pretends to hear
dawn and dusk both. He lifts them to his ear and
imagines he could beckon from them a shy ringing.
3. The amber roses. Like the hero with two fathers,
they have forced their way through the labyrinth
walls. He rubs them with his thumb and forefinger.
Closes his eyes. As if he had a womb, and was
searching for them within.
And the flora all swivel their exalting heads to him,
toward the steer’s horns which crown him in ivory and
Chelsea Eckert is a creative writing undergraduate at San Jose State University. Previously, her poem “Nostalgia” has won a James Phelan Literary Award, and her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Vending Machine Press, Stoneboat, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Dressing Room Poetry Journal and Bird’s Thumb.
Photo: “Minotaur Among the Tulips,” public domain