Judas Flower

by Gregory Powell

There was a thrumming in my chest. Not my heart. Not a misfired cylinder that appropriated inappropriate blood portions to & from my veins. I heard the thrum when I laughed full throttle or when I sang full-throated blues. It was as if someone with a humming jones tabernacled within my chest/feigned their next fix. At first, I labeled the thrum a chest cold. Metal strings rattled in my caged ribs when I coughed. I gargled a full measure of white lightning (dropped from a copper tit) in my mouth & swallowed. No relief. Next, I stirred one eyedrop of asafetida & one eyecup of asarum into cooked lightning & gargled the lightning my mouth. My jaws & my throat burned but the thrumming thrummed. I asked a Seer, blind since birth, for a remedy. “Did you try to Root of Jesse?” he asked. “Centuries have passed but the Lion of Judah still flowered.” I answered no. I pictured a lion lying in a bed of judas flowers & thought what odd bedfellows they two made. The oldest flower I’d seen was a red carnation sleeved in wax paper & pressed between the leaves of our family bible. The Seer recommended that I stand beneath a sunflower’s showerhead, lift my face to its hungry black eye & expect.

Gregory Powell is an MFA student at the University of Alabama. His work has appeared in Callaloo, Cairn, Tar Wolf Review, Mosaic, and The Langston Hughes Review.