Culture Magazine

Red Sunflower Desire

By Juliez

I can remember

the first time I split

this earth open,

locked within the blooming

garden of sunflowers that

formed the upstairs bathroom.

I told you first

almost begging, asking about

how I should tell our parents.

You dragged me downstairs

and pushed me forward

spilling forth with the news

as we all sat there awkwardly,

my small frame I was already beginning

to hate

buried beneath the blue folds

of my bathrobe,

underwear pressing tightly to my skin

as if to brand me

with red secrets of shame that

I would carry through out

the years.

I checked off day one immediately

beginning a regular cycle

of forgetfulness and inconvenience for

I can no longer count

between the lines in my memories,

a stack of pads sitting

on the polished wood of our

kitchen table as I rush out the door

breaking apart once more

as my cells and priorities

rearrange themselves again.

I carry no quarters

and spend my days hunting for

toilet paper, stealing from under

the sink at other people’s houses,

cursing this body

with its ugliness and the blood

it oozes.

Cursing the unjust actions of the

unaware public

as I stand there almost crying

staring at the shelves in a

Chinese supermarket, every sign subtitled

debating and counting my money

because I need to have enough

to make it back home.

As I stand there

yet again no change, no machine either

only my trusty friend, toilet paper,

crinkled and uncooperative

that bunches up when I try to go

back to enjoying the movie.

As I lie there

surrounded in the filth of my own

making, staining my bed

my safe zone turned into battle grounds

with the blood trailing

down my thighs

out across the sheets

and deep into the mattress.

There’s nothing left of that

fateful October day

as all my fears and desires

were confronted by the flowers

blooming across the walls

to match the red blossom

on my panties

and I know

this feeling of self-hatred

needs to stop.


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