Flowerland – Amanda Hawkins

                    after Megan Denton Ray


Yesterday I drove to Flowerland
and bought the smallest cactus they had.
God, the garden
they provide every drought-tolerant

shrub grass and annual,
every succulent shape clinging to its sand—
even air plants a delicate version

of thrive. Somehow they both
tend and

encourage wildness. I asked
for one that could withstand extreme heat
and an abusive lack
of watering.

And while I looked at prisms
a woman made eye contact.

What can I say? I did not want to turn.
I saw in her my own
instinct and desire both
clear as a pane of glass.

I imagined
my alternate existence.

Touch me and remind me who I am,
I have forgotten
the ridged sensation of your finger tips
trying to be gentle.     

Everyone has said
nothing can live in that corner’s heat—

Meanwhile convinced I can
care for something enough to tend—
tend                 but also abandon.



Author Bio: Amanda Hawkins holds a MA in theological studies from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Her poetry can be found in Tin House, Poets.org, The Missouri ReviewCrab Orchard Review, and Orion. She teaches college writing in Northern California and advises the undergraduate-run literary journal, Metonym.

The author: Debra Marquart