If an Eloquent Potato Articulated
Words By Danielle Lea Buchanan, Art By Roncheg
This flash fiction story was a F(r)iction Fall Literary Competition finalist.
Daffodil was transparently honest from the relationship’s beginning. S/he lifted her yellow chiffon tutu to show the Sun s/he was a hermaphrodite. The Sun said he didn’t mind and courted s/he/r for three months. It was a tumultuous relationship witnessed by Russet, the potato—the only eye witness to the tragics. His optic nerves ran fast as white roots dragging the dirt, eyeballs blinking underground, bearing witness to afterlives of the radish and necrophilia of the backhoe—but mainly to Daffodil’s decomposition.
The Sun: two-timing swindler, narcissistic tease, passive aggressively borderline disordered, a sociopathic abandoner. He’d leave Daffodil at 5:45 p.m. dressed immaculately in ochre and burgundy, spreading mauve cologne from room to room. He’d not return sometimes for days or many, many mornings after. When he did remember s/he/r, he stumbled home, drunken red over pastures of Campari stench.
The Sun inebriated, his rays and beams tangled like defunct Slinkys. He screamed cymbal clashes at Daffodil, demanding s/he strip her polyester petals as he pulled out his luminesce. It flopped down to the shagged soil floor. Russet heard these earthquakes, saw the soil above quiver and watched a viscous mustard-like moistness gloop its way through mud. It coated grub worms and glued together legs of centipedes. The Sun was too rough. He made love like an electric fence. Clumps of Daffodil’s hair winded away. The Sun loved s/he/r bald.
Russet witnessed Daffodil’s roots whittle, the stem splinter, s/he/r disposition molting green to brown. Daffodil told Russet these tragics in pollen—a flower’s telegram. All eyes, no mouth, Russet truly listened. Daffodil pollenated that the Sun spilled his sheen elsewhere: that ladybug, orgying leaves again, more roofs, thistle this time, some cat’s fur, too many pockets. Russet blinked rapidly to keep earth from dripping out his eyes. S/he/r stories made Russet cry compost.
One day, after eight straight hours of the Sun’s pitch-lit copulation, Daffodil’s back broke. S/he was nothing but a stem that leaked spinal fluid for Carpenter ants to drink. The Sun knocked s/he/r up. Daffodil filled with yellow sparks of semen. In the process of photosynthesis, spermatozoa convert to sugar. Pregnant with chlorophyll, s/he birthed a bouquet of rowdy bulbs. Children suckletted breast yolk from the stamen. Come nights now, Daffodil didn’t wait for s/he/r Shine. The Sun was last seen dropping luggage on a jukebox floor.
There is everything to tell in s/he/r body language of s/he. Daffodil’s wrinkled wilt, sagged posture loosening from roped chicken wire just to live. The gardener understood. He touched s/he/r gently with cashmere gloves, sprayed Daffodil with jasmine tea, stuck s/he/r firmly in an organic mattress of eggshells and coffee grounds. Daffodil knew the gardener’s hands: tender as mist, soft breezes rippling into flesh that cupped, touched, plucked, and rooted.
Ultimately, Cumulus handcuffed the Sun to be detained in a 5×5 windowless cell. Who read the Sun its Miranda rights? If an eloquent potato articulated, it’d say “to destroy what you most love. This is the tragedy of light.”