Send Her Fruit and Flowers
by Charles Haddox
“You won’t find pepper trees this size anywhere outside the tropics. They have to be kept above seventy degrees at all times.” The guide rattled on and on.
With thirteen-year old impatience, I was aching for the water lilies and bromeliads. I let Selene, an extremely forward girl from one of the upper grades who was supposed to be a “student mentor,” rub my arm because it was stinging. Arielle had tackled me, just for the hell of it, inside a greenhouse while the teachers weren’t looking. She had also given me a punch that clearly hurt her more than it did me. In front of the adults, Arielle put on her best Ellen Terry impression, soulfully imbibing the scents of flowers and gently parading a shiny Noble Chafer on her soft little palm. If the beetle had been one of her fellow classmates, she would have crushed it with glee.
This is the wall of his memory
A photo to his disappearance
Pale, washed out with years
Yet, still, there he must be found.
His laughter haunts the echoes;
Not too far, she too remains;
A moment so long ago, outside
Of the time they both knew.
There, I will stay, searching
The nooks, the crannies, the seams,
For a signature has been apposed
Perhaps only a sketch of a life.
Palimpsest, the scientist
Will uncover every layer
Of the story finished too soon;
Unshroud a death only in rumors.
His skin reddened by the attacker
Weather of all seasons,
A shirt wearing spots of inks
And many chapters untold.
He laughs into the thickness
Of an unfathomable fortress,
Only from time to time, to
Emerge and wink at finitude.
It is his wall, the cover he built
Upon which his portrait lasts
Author of his biography.