Paulette Beete

In the Garden

Volume 14:4, Fall 2013
Prose Poem Issue

In the Garden

after Peony Blossom Paintings by Cy Twombly

Someone was disappearing (full stop).

The eruption of sighs was unexpected, the languid hand, the limpid tongue, the mucus. And separate from the face’s waterfalling, the dark eyes staring.

Page by page you wrote of peonies, how the rain bruised them, misdirected the pulpy hearts, the memory of it electric and inaccurate.

It was musical though you refused notes that had stick-to-it-iveness. What I objected to was form unmoored at breakneck speed (no, slower), all tangled limbs, you dreaming out of you.

Unexpected, the appearance of your face, flower in hand (another peony?). It appears you were singing. This was, of course, before the enormous wings erupted, cracking your back. Before you drained out of. What was left of the garden only puffs of smoke and a yellowish wad. We had waited too long anyway, digressed. . .

Did you have to capture me pushing? The moment the garden itself expelled me—too rich for my blood!—and all that nonsense about fissures, about fictions, about heretics and ballroom dancing?

But why prove it? What difference did it make—peony or not peony? It was diverting, but unnecessary, and yes, it was cruel.

What you might have said if the peonies hadn’t bloomed just then, gaudy, infallible.



Paulette Beete's poems, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in journals including Rhino, Crab Orchard Review, Escape into Life, and Provincetown Arts. Beete has published two chapbook collections: Voice Lessons (Plan B Press, 2011), and Blues for a Pretty Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2005). She lives in Silver Spring, MD and blogs at The Home Beete. She also watches a lot of British cop shows. Read more by this author: Paulette Beete: Fall 2011