The white girl asks where I found it.
I know what she’s thinking. Found. Like
her ancestors planted it in her backyard
and before its creamy
petals had a chance to grow I snuck
past her picket fence
it out of the soil when she had her back turned
watering the roses. Like
I returned home with mud
underneath my fingernails, and tried to fit it
into my cracked china, and when it refused
to grow in cheap, foreign earth
I threw it in boiling water
and after its shell shriveled and
shed, after its edges surrendered to softness,
I swallowed it whole.
The burning, dead thing leaving angry blisters
down my throat.
I tell her I wrote it.
She doesn’t believe me so she asks the white
girl next to her can you believe she’s saying
she wrote it
like I’m not standing there like
while she’s talking
it’s not already writhing up my arm
scrambling for my shoulder
hauling itself over the edge of my chin
prying open my lips and
through the gap between my teeth.
When I get home I stand over the sink
reach down and fish it out from inside me
then I scrub the floor until there is no more