Flower Beds By Chloe Williamson

Flower Beds

I dreamed all summer of lying beneath the wildflowers
Roots like fingertips reaching carefully towards me
I dreamed all summer of soft, cool earth
And the sound of rain running through it
I imagined un-existence abstractly
The way I used to dream of summer air in autumn
Death seemed too harsh a word
I dreamed a softer leaving
I craved a magnolia’s death —
Painless, beautiful, a fragrant falling

I dreamed death beautiful
The sweet smell of a rotting rose
The gentle rest of dew on petal
I dreamed the deep oblivion of old roots
I imagined myself Ophelia in the bathtub
Head resting heavy against the porcelain bottom
I imagined sprays of cherry blossoms at the surface
Branches trapping me there, underwater
Decadent, murderous blooms

I toyed all summer with these fantasies
Played Virginia Woolf dress up
Lined the pockets of my father’s too-big coat with stones
But found the river too fast, too cold
I pulled a leech from my ankle after wading in
It was softer, smaller than I expected
More defenseless, less frightening
I could not bear to kill it

I held the thin skin of a poppy petal between my fingers
Felt its velvet veins illuminate my pulse
I dreamed thunderclaps and hail stones
But woke only to the claustrophobic pounding of my heart
Inescapably, improbably committed to survival

By Chloe Williamson

Biography:

Chloe Williamson graduated from Wellesley College in May of 2016, where she completed an honors creative writing thesis exploring intersections of identity in rural Eastern New Mexico. Her work has previously appeared in The Wellesley Review, El Portal, and the Brushfire Literature and Arts Journal.

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