How Pious You Made the Flowers
I can remember when we kept vigil in Eden,
your hands, blighted and vulpine, pressed me into
violets, into baptism. Salvation,
you Sinful soul; Water, you Wilting orchid.
On the third of March, you describe me as
a girl seeking her own undoing. I braid stem
into a crown, a Holy thing, until you called it
I’m willing to confess that the zinnias in my garden bed
are overwatered. That you imprint foxglove & cornflower &
nectar onto your body
even after they decay. (What boon of the heavens
would I have asked for if I had known?)
Loneliness bore me a child of moss and ivy.
Watch: you arrange them like lattice across my skin
until they partition my flesh
and all that seeps out is devotion.
You see, I hid thistle in the confessional, licked dew off stained glass
just so you could redeem me. (I would’ve asked for less cruelty.)
I tried to carve myself into your likeness, into your image.
Ritual felt like your lips blessing mine. Does fondness
gleam or burn? I never found out
if mine did.
For years, you watched me sink my teeth into piety,
into girlhood, into something I could never quite own.
And when Death unveiled me, planted me in a coffin
for secular longing, you told the blind,
that I was a martyr.
They never saw you upend my body, call your hands
on my neck penance, bury me in peat for renewal.
I had once asked you if you would miss me if I died.
No, you’d still always be here, you replied.
Soil cordons root, allows all the water to soak into vein
without filling its share;
Of course I will, I say. I reach out and follow you into Sky.
Of course I do.
By Alisha Wong
Alisha Wong is a Chinese-American writer from the midwest. Her writing has been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Waldorf University, and St. Mary’s College among others. Her other works are published or forthcoming, including in The Heritage Review, Up North Lit, and The Phoenix. In her spare time, she enjoys calligraphy, fashion, and black coffee. She will graduate high school in 2022.