Something Real

Something Real

by Elizabeth Rawlins


He would rather have no flowers than that fake silk crap. At Christmas, his family stabbed two sprigs of glitter-coated silk “poinsettias” into the dirt, one on either side of the footstone. By the time I finally noticed it, Christmas had been over for nearly two months, but there stood the “flowers,” fading and ugly and coated with glitter. I grabbed the flowers, stuffed them under my sweater, and drove directly to a dumpster.

In the spring, everything is beautiful, and I start thinking about planting things. Then I remember that I kill everything I touch, so I go to my husband’s grave and dump a package of wildflower seeds on mound of dirt. I hope that if the seeds sprout, his family will stop littering his grave with Walmart’s Chinese made “flowers.”

I tried to convince him that the only way our flowers would live is if they were never actually alive to begin with.

“I don’t have a green thumb,” I bemoaned each time he came home with a new plant to inter in the earth behind our house.

He wouldn’t hear any of it. He was determined to have flowers in our yard, because they are beautiful, they smell good, and if we had flowers, that would mean we were grownups.

I pour out the seeds onto the grave. It’s been fourteen months, but still no grass has grown. I’m sure that, thanks to the Carolina red clay he’s buried in, the flowers won’t grow, either, not to mention that I’m the one planting them.
I’m not good with living things. I don’t know how to take care of anything. I’ve tried having plants in my house; I’ve even tried planting flowers outside. Then I either forget about them or just stop caring, and they die.

I haven’t been back to the grave. I hope that I’ll move away before I feel the need to take another look. I hope the seeds will sprout .He deserves something real.


-refers from Bud Caywood’s artwork Fact of Beauty

  1. Love it

  2. What a great metaphor for nurture! Sad and lovely.

  3. Elizabeth Rawlins, I tip my hat to you: that’s a hell of a story you have there!

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