A person holds a flower in front of the blurred head of a figure who is in the background of the shot.

by Cynthia Chang
Art by Allison Li
Issue: Phosphene (Summer 2019)

when the last flower dies out,
so will my love for you.
you handed me a bouquet
of flowers, a paper carnation
hidden between the ones that were alive.
but when I gave you flowers,
they were all real, you know.
they were ones that never died.

when you left, you forgot to take your flowers back,
and they stayed, lingering with the storie
we shared in our time together, hiding our memories under a bed of water lilies.
you left me crying, and the tears
watered the magnolias that
were blooming in my heart,
as I struggle to take another breath.
help me, please. I’m dying.

I’m choking on petals—
he loves me, he loves me not.
there’s too many to count,
when I’m in the midst of sakurafubuki
when it’s snowing cherry blossoms from the trees.

they cling like ivy to my lungs,
your broken promises, your half-smile,
the paper daisy atop your palm that
you tuck behind my ear.
when you left,
I had gui hua tea, and the taste of
flowers stayed, lodged in my throat.

your flowers died but mine live on, honeysuckle vines knotting around my mind, a red rose
in between my teeth, in the pocket of
my collared shirt, and I dare to
ask you one last time:
do you love me?

you love me