One of the Tulips

by Teresa Yates

“They’ve planted all the tulips upside down,” she said, wiping a brow of acceptance, “so I’m replanting them.” We looked at row after row of tulips behind her with their roots, like naked feet, in the air, their heads choking, covered over with the soil. We did not expect to find her here, kneeling, in loose dungarees, hair pulled back and hands in the earth, and we wanted to ask her, “Why aren’t you in bed?” but did not. She wanted to talk about flowers not cancer, so we pretended she was well and let her. Many years later, I realized she saw herself as one of the tulips. And under her breath, she was whispering to the universe, “Replant me.”

6S

Teresa Yates is an English instructor at a community college in Phoenix, Arizona. She's currently working on a dark fantasy.