Emily comes to school with an armful of flowers

poetry by Arianna Monet

Emily comes to school with an armful of flowers

Hands me two irises and a bubbling spill of white blossoms I have no name for yet

Says I bought flowers for our saddest friends this week

Jokes that it’s like an award show

And I think what a gift it is to be loved in a way that honors your sadness

Commemorates you and all your fractures and missing pieces for making it this far

Says you deserve something bright blue and green and beautiful

Just for breathing through all of this rainwater.


Lip puts cookies down on the table and this is the first food I’ve remembered to eat today.

I pick one up and it is so good that I stop walking just to eat it,

stand still until I’ve finished the entire thing.

They call me beautiful when I’m getting off the train and I believe them.

They send me the recipe the next afternoon.


Myles sends me an all caps HAPPY BIRTHDAY during the worst part of my weekend

And something orange flickers in my chest like

Glitter made from a sunbeam filtered through a marigold.

Sophie draws me a picture and folds it into an envelope made of another picture

Shaped like a sunflower. I pin both to my bedroom wall.


Riley gives me a green dress and a box of band-aids

Says Can I fill up your water bottle before you go home?

And I think what a gift it is to hold the kind of love that wants to fill me with abundance

And to help me heal

To wrap me in something soft before it sends me out into the world.


Dixon asks me if I want Greek food or burritos.

Michael brings us brownies.

JJ hands me a strawberry cupcake topped with a berry and a candle and a silver star

Someone sings happy birthday

And my hometown best friend double checks my address

Just to make sure the envelope makes it from New York City

To the palms of my hands.


Dee comes over for dinner

Sits at my kitchen table and taste tests the glowing pool of sauce as I am blending it into being.

We are heavy-handed with the cumin and the olive oil and the red pepper flakes

Which is to say that we are brown.

Which is to say that we love each other.

Which is to say that we do our grocery shopping together

Because we will always remember how to feed each other

Even when we are struggling to care for ourselves


But I have stayed alive long enough to make so many mistakes,

And that’s not nothing.

A lip balm forgotten at a boyfriend’s apartment

A bottle of lemon juice spilled across the table

A mason jar shattered into glass confetti,

a splash of glitter and rainbows skittering across the hardwood floor


I have stayed alive long enough to create so many beautifully glimmering messes


And isn’t that what queer love is –

To D.I.Y. glitter out of the wreckage when things fall apart?

Queer Issue Contributor Photo.jpg

Arianna Monet

Arianna Monet (she/her) is a queer Black femme and marigold enthusiast living in Boston, Massachusetts (on stolen Wampanoag land).  She believes strongly in pigtail buns, strawberry milkshakes, and aquarium half-light.  When she is not hiding in a library to work on her next degree, catch her cooing loudly at the nearest puppy, wearing her mother’s wedding ring, and ordering dessert before dinner at every restaurant.