“I told the serial killer he could feed his Venus flytrap Spam…”
This week’s poem is by another one of my favorite contemporary poets, Anna Journey. Her poetry is vivid, sensual, unusual and unexpected, which is almost everything I like to see in writing.
Lucifer’s Panties at Lowe’s Garden Center
I told the serial killer he could feed his Venus flytrap Spam
the summer I worked the outdoor lawn
and garden center. I’d known to say this since fifteen, with my mother telling me
all men who ask young girls directions
from their white vans are murderers. Especially ones
wearing an arm in a sling who ask you to carry things. This one asked about hibiscus.
I said Rum Runner, the Fifth Dimension, Eye of the Storm.
The flower with my own name, Anna Elizabeth, was too damn pink and ruffled. I switched
its label, wrote Lucifer’s Panties, stuck its white plastic
flag back. I named others Unquenchable Burning, Hellflames,
Fire on the Back of Your Dark Tongue. He wanted instead to apologize
with the crepe-yellow hybrid for a woman
whose dining room window he’d shattered with a corner of drywall. He asked
if the gift was a good idea. I told him he was going to need
a good pot—one with an angel,
copper frog, fat gnome, or fairy: Girls love that shit. Probably terracotta.
His slung arm—likely struck by lightning from handling Bluebeard’s hoard
on the aluminum bed of his construction van.
I helped him repot. The killer grasping the flowers’ pale trumpets, me
tamping the dark roots. Before he left, a turnip moth
played the wind chimes above the register without touching them.
I pointed to the label, direct sun, but couldn’t say,
Bring the blooms indoors before the frost.
reprinted from Gulf Coast
Copyright © 2009 Anna Journey . This poem originally appeared in Gulf Coast and was later published in her book If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting by The University of Georgia Press. in 2009.
You can find much more of Journey’s work on Poets.org or Anna Journey.
In an effort to share more modern poetry with the world, I am attempting to share one poem every Sunday (usually with a strange/dark/offbeat spin, in honor of the journals I edit), to my blog here. If you are interested in being featured, message me via my Twitter @LeNoirBleu. The poem should already be published, with the copyright reverted back to you, and should be at least one year since the original publication date.