The Cabinet of Curiosities
Jar of eyes

A Beast Named Flowers

My dearest Curators,

I stumbled upon this newspaper clipping whilst foraging through an abandoned farmhouse for haunted relics, as one does, and was immediately intrigued, for obvious reasons. Why a man would want to desecrate the cemetery where his own children lay buried is not something even I, with all my experience in the dark and twisted, can understand. I managed to trace the clipping’s origins back to 1902, to a small town that fits the phrase “in the middle of nowhere” better than any other “middle of nowhere” place I have encountered–and, as you know, that has been quite a few.

There, I dragged the river in an attempt to locate any of the desecrated headstones, although I did not have much hope, seeing as how over a century has passed. Fortuitously, I did find one scrap of stone that called to me more than the other scraps of stone along the riverbed–called to me quite literally, with a sharp-edged voice that I could identify as neither girl nor boy, young nor old, but rather something between and of all of those things, too. The voice in the stone babbled and hissed, croaked and raved, and truly at first it made not one whit of sense. But I think I have managed to arrange the words I could understand into a sort of story, although it is different from the others I have collected.

I have enclosed said stone in this parcel, along with the clipping and my story, all of which should of course be archived, and posthaste. Perhaps one of you will have more luck listening to the voice inside this stone and piecing together its tale. I would advise you do so quickly, for the voice fades every day. I do believe it will soon fall quiet altogether, so far from its home.

Yours,
Curator Legrand

Cabinet_cemetery_post

 

I don’t like flowers
I never have
        not the yellow ones like Mama’s hair
        and not deep blue like winter mornings
                not blood-red, not meat-red, not red like bad gums
they stain pockets and they turn my skin to crawling
        they look happy when I am happy
        but they look
                        cruel
                when I am not
and I don’t like this new one either
        this new flower who
                        sings
                when it works
yes I do believe this new flower is
        the
                worst of
                        all
 
 
the first thing he did was
        rip
he took the stones and
        tore them
                from the dirt
                from the roots
                        one by
                                one by
                                        one
until we had no heads
until the wind gnawed our bones bare
then what did he do? what did he do then?
I’ll tell you
                                he built a house with them
                                he spread them out like a deck of cards
        or maybe more like
        if you squint real hard
        stacks upon stacks
                        of teeth
 
 
worse, though, was the others
        the other ones he took
        and he tossed
        and he threw them in the river’s mouth
                                                to drown
                                                        alone
                their names lost to the waters of the
                                                        dead
 
 
he built his house upon them
        our stolen stones
        our cards
        our teeth
left us cold and left us
                                scared
took his plow and tilled us
        chopped us
        churned us into chunks
pushed his seeds into us
                for money
brought his wife and his babies
        kissed them
        hugged them
        tucked them in
“this is our home now” he told them
 
 
no
wrong
it is
                                        ours
 
 
        and we want it back
 
 
he is no flower, this creature with his hat
        his plow
        his boots
        his rake full of metal fangs
his name is that but he’s got no
                petals
                pollen
                pistil
he has only a face made of
        hard
                blocks
eyes made of
        sharp
                lights
I think he knows
        we are
                                here
I think
        as he stabs our earth with
                his plow
                his shovel
                his rake
        he imagines he is hurting us
        and is
                glad
 
 
He will not be glad for long
 
 
There are many here in the dank dark deep
There’s me and sister, yes of course
        and Big Bad Joe who never meant no harm but has a
                        face cops thought belonged
                                nowhere
                                        but jail
There’s Ellis Haze whose daddy sawed off her feet
        so she’d   never         walk                 away
And the Bloom boys
        who knew better
There’s that girl Frankie who thought
                life was
                        a game
And old man Lyle
And the family called Drake
And then there’s the girls with their faces
        cut up
I bet Flowers
        (that’s his name, but he isn’t a flower
                he’s a
                                beast)
I bet Flowers won’t like
                those cut-up girls
 
 
                                        But he’ll like me least of all
                                                He always did
 
 
We crawl up through the house
        its steps
        its rooms like hearts
        its stolen stones
                                (OURS)
We drag our way up into the scorching world
        above
                (it’s like Hell up here)
                        (too hot and too much noise)
                        (too much remembering
                                and remembering
                                        and remembering)
The air forgives, in the dank dark deep
The air caresses and soothes
But we
        will do
                no
                such
                thing
                                up here in this Hell of Flowers
        (Daddy, Daddy, why’d you leave me)
        (Daddy, Daddy, why’d you drop me in this
                                                        place of
                                                                stillness)
Our hands are spiders and
Our legs are worms and
Our tongues are vipers and
Our fingernails carve like that rake of yours, Mr. Flowers
                                that rake
                                that rake
                                that rake
 
 
Didn’t you know what you done dug up
        now
        didn’t you didn’t you
                                        know
Didn’t you know my face
                (half of it is yours, you know)
                        (Mama always said I got your eyes)
 
 
Are your walls crawling now with that black germ sir
Is that your ceiling shaking like the endtimes
Are those your babies screaming for their mama sir
Are those your babies screaming
 
 
You brought us up here into this
                                        Hell
You shook out our sleeping veins and
                                        laughed
You broke our chains and
                drowned our names in silt
                                                and
                                                        storms
        and now you pay the price
        and now your house of cards comes falling
 
 
                                                        d
                                                         o
                                                          w
                                                           n
 
 
        and now we take back these stolen teeth
                Now we kiss your face like plague
                        and now you’re here with me, Mr. Flowers
How’s about we root you down here real nice
How’s about we stuff that mouth with food
        for your roots
                for your petals
                        pollen
                                pistil
How’s about we plant you just so, like that
        Where the light don’t reach
        Where the water seeps slow like
                the turn of ages
                        the drag of death
How’s about you sit right here next to me, Daddy
                (now don’t cry sir)
                (hush little baby don’t cry)
                (don’t make me call for the cut-up girls sir)
                                (it’s bad enough here with me, don’t you think?)
        Flowers don’t cry Daddy
                                (didn’t you know?)
Flowers don’t cry in the
                                dank
                                        dark
                                                deep
No
        they wilt, they choke
        they flatten, sir
                and they shrivel up
                                        and die

One Response to “A Beast Named Flowers”

  1. Mary Alice says:

    I love this one! Thank you for writing it, and thank all the curators, actually, for making a site with such, er, “lovely” stories on it. ^__^

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