The Black Gardenia by Kristin Garth

Kristin Garth, Noir, Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine

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The Black Gardenia


Like Dahlia, the Black Gardenia

winters in Florida too, comes home

from California, not cut in two. The

man leaves, mostly, skin intact, monochrome

exotic eyes, like lipstick, black.  Shuts faux

schoolgirl thighs to strut alone, odd streets.

Small, southern drawl, sweet scent more will follow —

three piece suited stranger, bread-bowl soup lunch greets

you with sunflowers.  Petals tease your own

cape jasmine blossom, beneath a miniskirt,

a man, at work, flew here to hurt — just grown

enough to make it not a crime.  You flirt

black gardenia, public, wasting time

then leave alone. You read too much true crime.


Author’s Note:  As a sexually adventurous woman who

reads a lot of true crime and knows the dangers women are

subjected to just by their gender and vulnerability to men,

sexuality and fear can be two opposing states.  During a

period in my life when I was very brazen and free and

polyamorous, I was still very informed of the dangers due

to the true crime I read. I didn’t want to be the Black

Dahlia but I flirted with strangers and danger, and I was

a gothic Black Gardenia, aroused but ever aware of

the danger of male desire.  This poem takes place in

Sam Francisco where I went to stay with a dom who

worked during the day and I wandered. You can read

more about this time and place in The Meadow

at or order the book signed

or annotated at:

The Meadow