Botanical Garden Duplex
by Charlene Ashley Taylor

Built from bricks of red poppy
The short-lived perennial
Two years of invisible war
Warriors carve into their skin
Birthing poinsettia on thighs
And with pineapple sage
They anchor fear to hyacinth wrists
With a hand full of spades 
Instead of hearts, the warriors carve
Trenches of scarlet carnations
And before they can sew
Garnet daylilies across their lips
The poppy blossoms splay
Seeds of opium on silent tongues
The seeds sprout spikes
Augmenting their mouths with diseased cacti
Words blacken from the sap
And they spit poisonous spores in the air
From here I scream through the screen door
Dig up the weeds, you can't breathe!
But I only see arms in decorative swing
Desperate to touch something in bloom.
I trace the bend of your vertebrate
To a wilting collarbone
Until my fingers are covered
In the oil of burning leaves.
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About barkingsycamores 183 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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