May/June 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 3 Nonfiction |

Gladioli

It was that rare spring moment. The morning was cold, but the breeze felt baked. Their naked green stalks were just emerging from the dirt. In English the flower is called gladiolus, meaning little sword, from the Latin gladius, like gladiator. The word has another nested in it, glad, from the Old English for bright and shining, conditions necessary to coax the pointy tips of the leaves from their fibrous tunic, ridged planar leaves that fan out well before the blooms ascend in a snug, upright swirl. Even nude, the shoots were so showy, knocking around behind my son while he dug in the front yard with a little shovel. Far off, an ambulance sounded, then another. From the top of a cruddy palm tree down the block, a crow squawked. Still in pajamas, hair unbrushed, I marinated in the musk of my own coffee breath, eyed them with suspicion and ceremoniousness, remembering how carefully I’d buried belowground their hard little corms brought home months ago in a brown paper bag I bought

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nature studies

By Evie Shockley

It was that rare spring moment. The morning was cold, but the breeze felt baked. Their naked green stalks were just emerging from the dirt. In English the flower is […]

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