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Ashes and the scent of new colors on the backs of pepper trees | Zero Readers

Ashes and the scent of new colors on the backs of pepper trees

by | Issue #1, Issues

Skeletal blooms along a line of angelic lites shaking out alone- backdrop to the deep, yellow gnawing inside, as I wonder again if poly-cotton blend uniform shirts, learning Swedish names of pullout sofas, and explaining delivery timetables to the irate, middle aged folks I know the want me dead because I paint my nails,  have silly tattoos, and cringe when they call me “sir” is really all there is to my life. 

Then I pull up the message you sent me with pictures from the Mars helicopter; desolation in a forgotten meadow of red rock and an empire of  Nothing. 

I spy the doodle over a crater in your sweet plush hand: “Wish we were here” beside a smiling cat emoji.  I grin – my watering eyes whipped with stardust out in this nighttime freeze.

Put the phone back in my pocket and start the trip home as the gnawing fades off into the shadows and snow. 

I start my car while the reminder that there’s more meaning to my life than price tags, half hour lunch breaks, and tears hidden away in a model home fills my heart. 

I feel like I can breathe deep for the first time since the fate of the Power Rangers once the Green Ranger arrived was the biggest worry in my life. 

I kiss your sleeping cheek once I’m back home- you grin while I curl up next to you.




Clem Flowers (They/ Them) has had a litany of jobs, mostly in the retail sector, but now works in finance, which is just dandy because it’s a whole lot more freedom to help people without inventory stress & a lot less likely to have to worry about vomit.