Ashley Gilland

The Chocolatier

My daughter quickly outgrew me as a botanist. I potted and killed all varieties of flora, raised them for slaughter, all in hopes of a fresh salad for her rotting candy teeth. She whispered magic and felicity into the plants she cared for. In crushed Oreo dust, they settled into faux soil and the naive herbs grew into cocoa beans for her brown thumbs and green stomach-struck expression of guilt. Soon I would be overwhelmed with pollinators captivated by butterscotch caramel seeds and licorice grasses, swarming like weeds choking out the beans and sprouts. I don’t understand how she made them want to grow, want to grow until they reach her eager mouth as she crouches with wild bunnies that know her will is sweeter and stronger than the one I offer her. My efforts cannot provide the nutrients that never grow. With prudence, I prune.

"Absurdum" by Nora Sun

Ashley Gilland is a writer, musician, multimedia artist, and student from Missouri. Find her recent poetry in Currents. When not writing poetry and philosophical flash fiction, she also loves composing and recording music, embroidering mixed media art projects, and helping with the campus radio station. Find her music on Spotify and Bandcamp, her art on Instagram and Etsy (@pocketsnailart), and her tweets at @earlgreysnail.