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.