gas station flowers
last night at the 7/11 & the wrack
of bouquets was lively & full of
these vivid purple flowers &
scoffing yellow ones. i leaned
down to smell them & the flowers
smelled like caramels & ring-pops.
i wanted to buy you several of these
assortments but i hesitated. i looked
around & the man at the hot dog rollers
had been watching me, he ducked down
& dashed back to the check out counter.
we write off gas station flowers,
we think that they could never be
any good but we never pause to wonder
where they come from. you know that
back room? the "employees only" place.
i think they keep flowers back there,
rows upon rows of them all lush
& fantastic all year round. i ask
the man at the counter if i can go
back, if there was a bathroom
i could use (an alibi). he threw
his arms wide & pleaded with me
"you cannot, you simply cannot
go back there, it's not for you."
there's a man who lives there,
i know there is. i know now at least.
they feed him taquitos & big gulps
of root beer & he takes care of
the flowers. he invents new ones
like those strange purple flowers that
i can't seem to name & those
laughing yellow ones who
opened their mouths at me to
show their pink tongues. i waited
by the 7/11 all night, hoping
that maybe the botanist would
emerge, i wanted to ask him
which would be the best flowers
to get for you. i thought
that only he could really tell me.
sadly no one came though the man
who had been at the counter
left & told me "go home, this
isn't for you." as he ambled
into the night towards the bus stop.
i wonder if i'm the only person
who's come close to this discovery
but that would be pompous of me
to think. i also wanted to know
how one goes about being the one
who grows gas station flowers, i think
i'm suited to it, but you would
miss me. i'd break the rules
& let you visit at night
where i would show you the glowing
red flowers i made as night lights.
i should have got you flowers.
Robin Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, the Gateway Review, and tilde. He is a graduate student at Adelphi University pursing an MFA in Creative Writing. He is the Social Media Coordinator for Oyster River Pages and interns for Porkbelly Press. He is an out and proud bisexual transgender man active in the LGBTQ+ community.