A Cycle of Tall Flowers and Dead-Eyed Gardeners

A Cycle of Tall Flowers and Dead-Eyed Gardeners by Omer Friedlander

Outside, the garden flowers are tall. Taller than the hunched men working in the green. Looking out, you can see the green of the stalks and the pink-white of their parched throats yelling with no sound. When it comes time to harvestcut their tongues, make necklaces of their ears, leave their livers out to drywe plant their hearts in a row and wait for the sprouts. Next year, we will have more old men where the others’ hearts are buried deep in soil. They climb out, newly blinded like kittens. They work in the yellow and the brown, in white and grey, in cold, cold nights, shivering. When they look in each other’s dead eyes we think they are tracing the wrinkles to chart an escape route, so we indent new wrinkles into their face so they won’t be able to trace the right way out. In their ever dark, moist world they feel their way to the flowers. Their fingers track the length of the stem, stubborn against the thorns. They wrap the petals in their fists one by one, they are so big. Reaching the crown, they anoint their dead eyes with pollen so that in the next life they may see.