The Difference an "n" Can Make

November 6, 2017
By Anonymous

I sit now, watching
The flowers move with the wind.
They gain a rhythm,
The sun as its beat, and their dance becomes rough.
Executed well, but aggressive.
But lovely, and so relaxing to observe.
They move no faster, but I feel it.
The rhythm spreading.
In the trees, in the clouds, in the sea.
Which contract with each lull;
Which ripple with every pulse.
Now everything moves, in natural communion, and I cannot sit still and watch.
I stand. My roots move with me.
I am unpracticed, but I stretch out my limbs, enveloping the sound
It only exists for me,
But it must be heard by everyone else.
All of the world is in one blend, which I can taste, and see, as I move
I am growing.
Only, The flowers are a nice purple. I never noticed before
They contrast strangely
with the music; something about this bothers me.
I cannot identify it.
So I forget myself and that thing for now in the lithe purple mass around me.
And I exist, and I feel it in everything.


I cannot stop remembering those flowers;
How they danced for me.
That rhythm is in my chest now, and my mind has contracted it.
And that purple.
I can’t look out my window any longer.
Humanity is in hell, lit
With purple fire
The people are dying, and the people are killing,
And all anyone can talk about is
This is because, when we die
Our individual hells are released, and fully realized
And it combines with everyone else’s to form something unbearable.
And I think that I can never die
My hell would be unleashed
But this world cannot handle itself again.


It still burns outside
I don not dare to look.
They are saying that we are finished
I heard screaming
There are purple flames
Now requesting entrance to my home.
I will not let them in.
They can’t come in.
I don't want them to badly.
It is so, so scary
And so cold although it burns.
But I still think about what they say.
“We are through.”
But when I think about those blossoms, I cannot help but remember
How here I was
And how no one could ever have denied me.
I need to show them that.
I need them to understand
Can you understand?
Do you?


I found a photo, in an old almanac.
It is labeled “Orchid.”
What a weird name.
I thought that it was a flower.
It is purple, though, so it will suffice for my mother.
I show her.
She has to remember.
“Why are you showing me this?”
A gently posed question, but with black undertones.
I understand her, though
I wonder what her personal hellscape consists of.
I tell her that it reminds me of those flowers.
“There were no flowers.
The flowers were the first things
We lost.”
I tell her what I remember.
I try to convey the difference between
The purple of the fire and the ground
And the softer colors
Pure colors
If that living, growing blanket I can recall
Falling into after my performance
And the performance of the flowers.
“No, Abby.”
I repeat it more times.
She grows irate.
I know I am making her angry, but I cannot stop.
I sob that she has to remember, or I am alone.
I know someone else heard, someone else saw
My mistake was trusting the recollection of others;
I should have understood, should have learned.
She screams at me,
That she can't remember,
But she just won't
she throws the book.
The book hits me, and I fall, and my head and arm catch a counter.
I contact the ground, and I feel like
I can’t move, but I know that I just do not want to.
Something is missing from this.
The rhythm that was so sweet to me returns, resounding
I use it to pull myself up
I get off of the ground.
I am mortified when I find that I have blooms across my skin, gracefully dancing
Up my arms, across my cheek,
Up and into my hair.
But the flowers that grow on my skin are wrong.
The color is incorrect. It is a mocking blue-purple color,
Mixed with black and gray.
The shades and tones play up my arm
This is not right, I don’t feel alright
I feel tired
My hell wants out
I begin to cry.


It has been months.
I feel dread, for we have abandoned something.
Something important
I have to try.
So I wrote.
I felt like I was showing my hell
A part of what it was.
My mothers discovers my writing.
She reads,
“It is so violet out there.”
What that means is not clear to me.
I still cannot understand that.
I know that
I wrote it, but I feel like I can't see
When I think about what is happening.
I can't easily write about it.
“Did  you write this?”
From my mother.
She reads one more line.
“That world, my world -
What was supposed to be ours - it is so violet.”
I was wrong; my writing is wrong.
No, I am told. Not violet.
The palpable, unpalatable hate.
All that hell.
I did not know.
“Violets are real nice flowers.”
And now I recall
Dancing, leaving my feet, being so undeniably here, and realized,
And that serene color of those petals;
Virgin color
Before the brimstone
Touched with grace.
I recall that liberty.
I am impressed by this.
I wrote violet
I meant violent.
Violent; violet
How my message changed, then.
What a difference an “n” can make.

The author's comments:

Thanks, Ben, for insisting that didn't we "mean purple?" and making me think so hard about violet - the color, or the word.

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