Napo 13: Writing About Flowers
I'd like to think about this idea a little further. I don't want to appropriate Abdurraqib's powerful poem. But I also don't want to just write poems about flowers and beautiful things as the world around me reels in pain and suffering.
How Can White People Write About Flowers at a Time Like This?
After Hanif Abdurraqib
I want to imagine each flower a fist, rising in unison.
I want to say that flowers matter, every dandelion
With its head blown off, every bluebonnet snuffed
Beneath the knee, every glorious aster mistaken
For a weed because it fit the description, each one
Deserves all the sun and the soil and the raindrops
Like any living thing. I want to write about all things
Beautiful—the different shades of flowers blooming
In the garden of this nation. But I will never understand
What it feels like to be plucked from the root.
And how many times have I enjoyed the beauty
Of a daisy, its mother generations ago pulled
From the fertile soil Africa, and planted here,
Forced to make this garden of a country what it is?
How many times have I watched in silence
As the gardener mows down another patch
Of wildflowers, turning them to mulch?
How can I write about flowers in a time like this?
I sit in my garden of privilege, drinking tea,
Thinking about flowers and all things beautiful.