Aloe: Affliction. Grief. Bitterness. | Vanessa R. Bradley

Image: Alli Elder
Aloe: Affliction. Grief. Bitterness.
I get a sunburn at your funeral.
My mother slathers me with cheap
aloe, sticky and dyed green.
I bought an aloe plant cause I liked the way
it felt when I pressed leaves
between fingers

and you told me aloe is for grief.

I look it up after in the book you left behind
soothing burnt, aching shoulders 
with vermouth from the family fridge.
Page 30: bitterness and grief in floral language
Break off a piece and squeeze until it bursts

It tastes like shower cleaner and acid reflux
the sound of my own voice in a snowstorm
a shot of rubbing alcohol 
a still green banana
that time you ate brie and yelled at me when you felt sick—
----------How could you let me 
-----   do this to myself?

Vanessa R. Bradley (she/her) loves fantasy novels and writes a lot of poetry about dirt, divorce, and discovering queerness. She lives in Epekwitk (PEI) with her wife, where she is working on a collection of poetry about the meaning of flowers. You can find her on Instagram @v.r.bradley and on Twitter @vanessarbradley.

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