In the Garden of Body and Glass
Joseph Dante


There should be plums here, fruit with flesh so reticulate and red with juice you could make spells out of them. Even though winter never comes, you won’t find a garden. Instead, only the glass I planted in the dirt.

It started with a cut, the result of daring to speak a language of my own. Where did he learn this? Who taught him? Dillon’s mother tongue was Demand-to-all-Mothers. He came through the door like my first hurricane, a cacophony in the wind chimes. He spoke over what I could dribble, drowned out the leftovers with his lawn-mower rages.

Dillon wasn’t Dad. Dillon was Dillon. He had the front yard and I had the back. I took the blood on my fingers and dipped them in a sink nearly filled to the faucet. Simple. The pink ribbons went from sink to bottle to earth. Any cuts from now on would go through the same process. Nothing wasted.

When Dillon died, I couldn’t stop spitting. The taste had to get out. I spit into bottles since I couldn’t manage the grave every day, adding salt until the bitterness was pure brine. Mom draped herself across chairs like Dillon’s discarded bathrobes. The bottles became mason jars, casks for ghosts pulled from my body. There were always bigger holes to dig.

I wasn’t expecting growth, of course. Maybe just any progress made through this kind of work. If someone like Dillon could die and provide us with new flowers, maybe my body could enrich the earth too.

The front yard became a forest when Mom started to show. Everything was growing like weeds except where I buried. The ground saw my tears and took some for itself. I dreamt of tendrils, veins, umbilical cords.

Mom finally asked me: Will anything ever grow? I answered: What could grow? Her hand found its way from her stomach to my shoulder.

After giving birth, she handed me a half-filled bottle of her own. Was it her milk?

Bury this, she said.


Joseph Dante is a writer residing in South Florida and a graduate from Florida International University. His work has been featured in The Rumpus, PANK, Pear Noir!, Monkeybicycle, and elsewhere. He has helped work on several literary journals, including Hobart, Keyhole Magazine, and Pithead Chapel.