Imagine planting a garden. Imagine planting a garden of only yellow tulips. You love yellow tulips, the dusky smiles, stems’ green neutrality. Yellow tulips are your favorite. So mild.
Now imagine you live in the garden. You go out to work, to write, to eat but you live in the garden’s yellow. Your pillow is yellow and so is your mouth and so are the stars overhead. You love tulips. They shudder when you smell them. You have always loved tulips,
often think your left hand is a tulip. Forget there was a time without tulips, before you wore them wound around ankles. Tulips invade your memories, tuck themselves into cupboards and cameras. Yes, you cut them. One or two flatten under your boot. One night, you don’t come home and find they are white and cracked.
You cry. You plant more tulips. Still yellow. You love yellow. Yellow surprised you when you weren’t looking for a garden. It became your gloves, your window, your bedfellow, and your shoes.
You tell time by yellow. Yellow is your tulip, your chime, your ring. You take care of yellow and yellow takes care of you.
How succulent a red lilac smells.
Shari Caplan is the author of “Advice from a Siren” (Dancing Girl Press). Her work can be found at Zoetic Press, is forthcoming from Blue Lyra Review and Deluge and has earned her a scholarship to The Home School in Hudson, NY as well as a grant for the Vermont Studio Center. Caplan has worked on The VIDA Count, as a reader for Sugar House Review, and as co-editor of Soundings East. She received her MFA in Poetry from Lesley University.
Tulips lift toward the sun
not as lips parting,
but cycloptic eyes, self-blinding
to defy dozens of faces
that peer directly inside,
The news networks blink in code,
send out psychic flare guns.
“Help. I’m an illusion.”
I accidently knocked over
the Singer sewing machine,
an old black metal one I found
in a junk store.
The waves are shaped by sirens
and the sea walls built to echo
Bamboo and rain drum the time I was a child and my mother was mapping the neighborhood dynasty with her sister Corrine. For years they plotted to overthrow the geriatric mindset of their mother who kneaded Judaism into me and my sister’s Play-Doh.
Her chameleon eye in the moon
like a crater, and hair falling in meteors
over bare shoulders.
Forgetting how to swim
was like losing language,
a silencing of the limbs
that once knew fluid
like the vein of a wrist,
the curve of an eyelash
Madness is not the only art that consumes.
In our mind, rooms, and in them the scuff
of footsteps and faces veiled in tulle.
Once I was immortal,
condemned to endless mornings,
empty of the knowledge
of manmade rituals.
my parents have a joint facebook account bc my mom found out my dad was messaging someone name TexasTitties2006 in an online poker game and she lost. her. goddamn. mind and threw the tv down the stairs.