Nocturne for Our Lady of Flowers

by Stephanie Chang



At the wet market, we moan the bad meat, the blistered moons
on our feet. Soldiers tote around knives, flay open our skirts

          to check for greenery. Merchants recite the wanted posters:
          The orchid—by aliases of lion, dove, Monkey King—is to be hanged

for deception of mankind. They say the flower will evolve into anything
that can be loved. That men brought home counterfeit wives, refused

          to drink, if not from the filaments of their breasts. Girlish murders.
          The rooster, dead. Your heroes, not. The dawn wavers: a blade

too bloodied to turn over. Exile and exile and creatures hacking
up wildflowers. We let our eyes orbit the backyard, let no man in.

          I simmer the poppy seeds. Population one million.
          Fanfare for when I hold you, the whole paradised thing.

We lift our dresses, pick away at root rot. Here’s proof
that my heart loved you too unlucky: The day we found

          the grass bent the way of the gardener’s frame, I wanted
          to love you; before my biology turned me evasive species.

I undress. Someone has to uproot your kiss from my thigh—
I remember my body naked, a nerveless wreck. Enameled so unnatural. 

          I’m crushing at my feet everything that was abundant and
          rife with good. I’m beheaded. I’m beheading the entire field

of flowers, artifacts going up in flames, everything gone so to love me better.



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