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 still insects especially mosquitoes always flies. 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 Her girlfriend is amazed confused sensible guessing when she researches and says Venus flytraps will die from low humidity with high temperature—can't afford flights to Alice fertiliser—ah, hmm 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 are concerned presuming 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 the flies.
Originally published in Verse Kraken #2, April 2014.