Yasmine Bolden :: “cottagecore death fantasy”

after janna ibrahim

what if, i propose to you after we whisper about my dying, breast implants
could pocket all the plant stuff needed to become a tree? like, maybe
when i die, you scoff at a coffin knowing nothing can contain my 
overgrown-ness and return me directly to the brown earthen hands 
that know how to handle me better than this tupperware-obsessed world 
ever could? like what is everyone always trying so hard to save 
in those tiny tubs? leftovers? compost, baby. it is a few sleepy breaths past 
two in the morning and i can see the question in the curve of your neck
as you beckon me over. come here, bring the meaning closer, you say
without sound. i am always so afraid to touch you. not because of anything
you’ll do, but because of the anytime of my die. you can laugh,
that was worded funny. on purpose, i pot my fluttering asclepias tuberosa 
thoughts in vases too large and ornamental to do their job properly. 
you stare at me, not intensely, and i’m reminded of how good you are 
with a hammer. do you want implants? you ask, splintering my abstractions 
with your bare fingers. okay, stop, stop. what i mean is, i want to be a mother. 
i know stems in stem who could make that happen. your eyes 
are closed now, tired and so softly alive. you will be, you say, as if 
you don’t know my body. as if our earlier conversation isn’t rotting between us 
as we speak, silently giving itself to the silly little green shoots of the fantasy 
i’m trying to flesh out for us. can’t you just let some part of me live a little?


Yasmine Bolden (they/she) is a Black American 19-year-old poet, teacher, and playwright who adores the moon from unceded Susquehannock land. They’ve been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and American Voices designation, and their poems have been planted in The Lickety Split, The Feminist Center for Creative Work, and Rootwork Journal, among other magical locales. She gushes about her writer friends and poodle puppy on Twitter @blkpunningpoet, and attends Johns Hopkins University as a Writing Seminars and Africana Studies double major. Whatever you do, don’t ask her about queering August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean (they’ll talk until you’re ready to visit the City of Bones yourself).