Child's Garden

Child’s Garden
by Anna Helena Wärje


In the cavern of her underwear
she finds purple nightshade,
its black, sticky fruit on her fingers
a hot dead thing.

His hurting her, his sharp taste,
so unlike that slow, soil-turning touch
of her boyfriend’s mouth that
makes roses come.

This is not her fault.
She tries to sit like a
carved garden sentinel,
her knees still and tight,

but always
there are the buds that creep out and
poke through her legs like
vines splitting a rock.


She can make flowers grow from her wrists,
slicing upward through the skin
with their sharp arrowheads,
then bursting open at the second they
touch the air.
Blue, gold, green like dragon scales,
like dragonflies,
like butterflies,
buttercups melting apart like
legs spreading.

She can use her safety-scissors,
the baby kind,
tucked into her pencil-case and
drawn out during math class.
She can use them in the empty bathroom,
hunched over the toilet like she is
about to plunge inside.

She can be a garden of
black wetness,
a wet stigmatic dream that starts
somewhere deep.
She can send down earthworm shoots to
coax the petals upward.

She can make them blossom
and then dry to pulpy stains,
red rosebud rows along
the white tracts of her land.


Girls who eat lotus blossoms
end up in trouble and living in the trailer park,
growing secrets.

They sleep with mouths open in the
smelly black plot above the kitchen,
can scarcely climb down in the mornings as
their bellies bloom.

Girls who eat lotus blossoms,
you’ll see in the supermarket as fat as
bloated poppy pods,
rifling through the discount meats,
or walking up the highway, scattering seeds
like wishes blown on the wind
for anyone to catch.

Anna Wärje graduated from the Langley Fine Arts High School with a major in Creative Writing, and now studies at the University of British Columbia. Her work has recently appeared in Room and Event, and is forthcoming in The Dalhousie Review and the anthology Cleavage, published by Sumach Press.