Frances Holland is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her work has been previously featured in Mslexia and Horla Horror.
I knew them by their scent,
those proud specimens
ring-fenced by terracotta,
buried in the earth.
French demanded blood and glory,
its lovely alien heads eager to be paired
with flesh, spit-roasted,
Hidcote took and took;
it drained the life of the other,
stood tall and purple,
regal, sickly-sweet and brazen.
Rosea wilted, stems broken and grey,
And yet her pale flowers bloomed.
Her scent the sharpest,
It clung to fingertips,
drew insects in.
The honey that year would taste of it.
It would seep into us through bread
and out of us into the night-air,
To mix with pollen and starlight.
We would find our dreams perfumed by it,
Cleanse our bodies in its water,
and watch and wait for next year
When its blooms would claw back,
Claw back through the deep dark earth.