Here’s a flash prosetry piece of mine which appeared in Verse Kraken in 2014! The formatting in this inspired me to do “stone”, my twine poem.
“She is, there—amongst the Mango Trees—a Flytrap Garden”
by Penny Stirling
For the summer holidays she goes north to her girlfriend's family's mango farm
of parental introductions and appraisal—oh, scriptwriting? many jobs?
red dust, sweat, spiders, mosquitoes and flies, wondering if she'll make it 'til New Year's.
bit overwhelmed but okay!
Her skin is city-weak and lotion-pale until it
gets burned forgetting to reapply sunscreen
bitten after not securing flyscreens
unbearable feeling clothes, sheets or girlfriend against it by the third night, and her in-laws laugh and
give soothing creams
reminders long past when she needs them, and say, city girls, hey, but
they don't mock her scars or the pills she takes
acknowledge her hard work, and even if she's a city girl so too are most of the backpackers. But though her peeling skin heals, there are
how are you? asks her girlfriend daily because in their relationship
one  cares enough to ask genuinely
cares enough to reply truthfully
okay! tired, hey.
She only guesses why on the sixth night she draws Venus flytraps on her arms—perhaps the German's snowdrops-and-tulips tattoo inspired—but when she wakes she
finds shut traps
no new bites. She never knows why she draws more on her shoulders and neck—ah, hmm—but when outside the flies bother her less. She never understands why the ink
flytraps remain after showering and scrubbing
grow in size and number
propagate down her arms and chest, even without flowering and seeding—as if that'd be better. They
can not be hidden in the evening, when sleeve lengths rise like the moon
be ignored—ah, just bored, hey.
okay I think
By the tenth day
she removes the flyscreens before she sleeps
stands on ant nests, because if the flytraps don't eat enough
they nip her fingers
gnaw at bed sheets
scratch her girlfriend when the two get close under ceiling-fan comfort, and
she tries drawing over them but the infestation does not abate
presses the pen harder—oh, no, no—before throwing it away, and then on the thirteenth day a chin-dominating trap snatches her Lexapro.
i am not okay i am not okay i am not okay
guessing when she researches and says Venus flytraps will die
from low humidity with high temperature—can't afford flights to Alice
waterlogging, and drives down to the dam—no crocs, promise—and it only takes one submerged day for all flytraps to wither to pimples. The parents
delicate when they ask if she needs a nurse and
she holds tight her girlfriend
says, I'm okay now, hey
gets back to picking mangoes, but still
always there are
Originally published in Verse Kraken #2, April 2014.