Pocket Full of Posy

My husband was a ski racer, though I’m not allowed to see him ski. I have every reason to believe that he makes 13 dollars an hour on ski wheels delivering packages—I cannot see this either. These rules are my own, for I fail to love speed the same way as him and so consider it better not to bear witness in that case.

Recently I have taken up drawing. Flowers are my main subject, ones I look at in photos. I’ve grown good and have begun slipping them into my husband’s pockets, which he has yet to notice. I am thankful; if he ever found out, I would stop.

He’s got blooming lilies in there, supple dogwoods and spindly stemmed roses. The right pocket is thick with baby’s breath and the lace of queen anne, the left a basket of begonia and daisies. I put pages and pages of perfect dahlia’s in the back one, which he turned into a trail one day when it tore on the street.

Tonight will be my best: when he comes home, turns on the shower, strips down, and begins staining the glass with his thoughts, I’ve got a handful of the smallest narcissi you’ve ever seen, a sprinkling for each pocket.

Then I’ll “what’s up, buttercup,” and crawl—yes, on all fours—my way from his shorts to the tile floor and give an old-fashioned stare, curled up good. He’s looking at the ground this time, instead of thinkingly through or better, somewhere in the strange space above him, where he can’t reach. And he exhaletells me he’s been feeling heavy lately. The speed just doesn’t come the same. It doesn’t feel like it used to. And I’ll open my mouth and wish for marigolds but I know, I say. I know.

And he leaves the next day without kissing me. This is not especially rare when it’s time to go and he’s often late and I’m often busy. I fill my day with a tulips—I’m feeling phoned in—and he comes home and he’s drenched in sweat. And he looks frightened as he reachturns to his backpack and he grabs, out of his big yellow backpack, he grabs one lily, a plump dogwood, spindly roses, and there’s baby’s breath, there’s queen anne’s lace, there’s begonia and daisies and in the middle, a narcissus for the ages.

Carliann lives in New York and is married to Arthur Boyle.

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