When Chula got to the flower shop, it was closed. The shopman told her that it closed at 6 o’clock, and she was there an hour early. She pressed her face to the window. It was already dark outside, and the glass met the fog from her mouth. She was wearing crochet gloves with the fingers frayed off, and she could feel the curls forming in her hair. Her flower sat in the refrigerator in its plastic box. She asked the pale-faced shopman for a white rose with painted black tips, and he made a face at this request but took her money anyway. She pulled the dirty bills from her jacket sleeve, and she thought she heard a little drum. He wrote her a receipt and handed it to her after crumbling it up in his fist. She folded the piece of paper in a triangle, and they made moth’s wings fur in her pocket, a little drum. The moth began to scream, the drum making steady. There was no one to take it back now, and the white rose began to wail a metallic shrill until all the other flowers in the shop did the same, and the moth thumped in her hand, growing, and Chula felt the fog freeze then warm in her throat. The pin that seethed the stem of her rose began to shine and to sing, knotting the drum synthetic and all the flowers started to stitch themselves together, then rip away. The tiny bones and tissue were now exposed, their insides brighter than the moth’s fur the bone chards cutting the flowers anthers out one by one.
Monique Quintana is from Fresno, CA, and the author of Cenote City (Clash Books, 2019). Her work has appeared in Pank, Wildness, Cheap Pop, Okay Donkey, and Luna Luna Magazine, where she is a contributing editor. Yaddo, The Mineral School, the Sundress Academy of the Arts, the Community of Writers, and the Open Mouth Poetry Retreat have also supported her writing. You can find her at @quintanagothic and moniquequintana.com