Steaming in the central Florida shade,
the morning rays gleam off her plastic
leaves. I find her camouflaged
against another tree: her sun-broadcasting doppelganger
perched only a foot above her crown. She ducks,
striding below the baser branches, stilts
beneath that cedarn cover,
manifesting grace, her face painted the greens of Eve
and Harlequins: this walking jungle,
bountiful with rubber grapes and silkworm fronds,
an artificial mulberry, post-Earth.
The kids are gone for now: there is a lull
between the crowds. She smiles at me,
messy. “Where’s my funeral home
fan?” she laughs. “It’s hot as balls.”
I don’t ask if she’s wilting,
since I’ve made that joke before.
I only give her water and her lunch.
She stoops down, five-foot-eight from
seven-ten, and kisses me. “Your tongue
is like the inside of a honeydew,” I tease.
“Then will you drink the milk of paradise?”
she asks me, offering her neck. “Tonight,”
I promise her, just grazing it.
“With all the plastic off, if
that’s more comfortable.”
She takes her hand off of one stilt
and plucks a fruit. We see the hoards
approach. She puts the rubber grape inside
her mouth, tongue passing it to me.
“I’d like to keep it on tonight,” she whispers.
“Goddess, babe. A cybernetic earth
goddess, you know?” I do. I crushed the grape
between my teeth. Real wine came out.
Real waterfalls, with blossoms all around.
Brady Alexander is a queer writer with OCD and an Americorps volunteer. Their work is published in Catamaran, Miracle Monocle, Transom, and InclusiveWe, and they’re looking for an agent for their novel, Þ. When not writing, they protest and pine for healthy oceans.
“Girlfriend as DiVine, from Disney World“ was a finalist in our 2023 Blurred Genre Flash Contest, judged by Rachel Howard.