Diary of a Floral Delivery Worker, 2021

With my fingernails, I unbury a past life.
The wet, gritty autumn
soil stings

my fingertips—my sight
funnels inward: no matter

the occasion, I was funereal,
with embalmed,

painted flowers and their ungodly
draftiness. Their vivid
petals already

into the next world.

I delivered them to Valentines,
funerals, birthing rooms.
Promises. Promises

kept. And I delivered them like births—

The Loam

Poppies burst violently to life
in the muck of me.
My dream was born sickly, unwhole,
so that my pregnancy assumed

shadowhood, followed me naggingly
into waking. My dream, lichen-eaten,
frail, needed constant repotting
and gasped for water.

Now look at my companions: these
colorless sheets who can only collapse
around my body, as if my body is only
a thing to grieve for.

You wanted the impossible. Now the soul
grows cartilage. Yes! Out of nothing,
personhood, blood, small rivers turning purple
as springtime violets. Violets

who refuse to exist in the patio-side garden
so their silver imprints
hang in the frozen air above
where I lie, finally dispersed.

JAMES CHAMPION (he/him/his) is from Whitehall, Michigan. You can find him online at @jameslchampion on Instagram or Twitter.