NOVEMBER 11, 2022


Sometimes, the plant

sends flowers into space:

stems thick as garden hoses,

blooms a cluster of softballs.

Perhaps every third decade,

though romantics say one hundred.

The century plant invites

you inside, appears to offer succor

within an artillery of spines.

Just another bad deal

in the desert: you were too

transfixed with the blossom.

2020 traded mold for dust

as headlines shrilled.

You dreamed of Wisconsin.

You dreamed of a beach fire.

You dreamed of automobiles,

while your husband lay

beside you: his diminished

body a collapsing stalk,

as yours will be someday.

Go on. You might

bloom twice in eighty years.

Hold water inside.

Thrust yourself into the earth

and refuse to move.

Push your floret upwards.

Spread wide, but make certain

your tips are covered with needles.

Leah Mueller's work appears in Rattle, NonBinary Review, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. She is a 2022 nominee for Best of the Net. Her flash piece, "Land of Eternal Thirst" appears in the 2022 edition of Sonder Press' "Best Small Fictions" anthology. Website: www.leahmueller.org.