Prose Feature: “Flowers” by Erin Dose

Erin Dose



By Erin Dose

There were flowers at her birth, bouquets as gifts and stuffed into dusty vases of lukewarm water. There were flowers at the first birthday, arranged simply with half-hearted effort, there was too much else to do then. There were flowers outside the preschool, bright red bulbs attracting bees that stung the screeching toddlers until the bushes were removed. There were flowers at the new house, the yellow kind that grew up chipped white stakes until they were taller than the girl, when her father cut them down and her mother cried. There were flowers that the girl sold as a Christmas fundraiser, the name of the blooms too awkward in her mouth so she called them heart plants. There were flowers at grandmother’s funeral, white roses partially drooping and tied with gray ribbon. There were flowers on valentine’s day and candy for each classmate dropped into red paper bags. There were flowers planted in the garden by the girl and her father. There were flowers in the hospital following a broken arm- flowers and teddy bears and candy overflowing the clinical windowsill. There were flowers in her cousin’s bouquet and the girl dropped petals down the aisle. There were flowers blooming outside of the pool in the summertime, orange and blue pops of color against in the green. There were flowers in thin vases in the library at middle school orientation. There were flowers on the orthodontist’s desk the day she got braces and her mouth bled. There were flowers on her mother’s birthday but they ended up in the trash after a fight. There were flowers left on the table the morning she started high school. There were flowers in the spring outside the DMV when she got her license. There were flowers on the corsage on her wrist. There were flowers lining the sidewalks on her college tours. There were flowers growing again in the garden outside on the morning she learned about the divorce, and she tore them to ragged damp pieces. After that, she didn’t notice flowers anymore.

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