Highway Garden

I bathe to scour my skin red
blossoms up and greets me
like the highway weeds my
father calls mammaw flowers
because crimson clover matted
the roadside bloody when she died
I am eager to become a garden
so I scrub harder but suddenly
under my white rag I slurry
confetting the bathwater
with pieces plastically floating
around my hips I shudder
and find I want more of myself
I whittle translucent flakes away
sloughing until I reach my core
find a gem glowing hot I touch
myself and burn with my brilliance
I smell my singed skin and gasp
at the wet jungle of love and hate
I place the stone in my mouth
to release its heat and the steam
purls and flows through my teeth
unfolds down my throat
flowers my body warm
I watch myself multiply
I leave the bath and walk outside
my flowers tremble at each step
I caress my red garden
all the way to the highway

Gabriella Lindsay

illustration by Happy Burbeck

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