★ ★ ★ ★



Flowers in January,
something of me left
in your world,
something small,
white, narcotic, indolic.
If ghosts carried scent
in their rising from the earth
this would be it,
this smell …
not quite jasmine,
tuberose, civet, or musk deer …
but something very close
to the smell of your skin
in the rain.
Yellow-centered stars
clustered hovering
on tall wet emerald stems,
you will find them
in the damp silver morning fog.
When I am dead
bury me here.
Bury me
beneath pine needles.
Plant me
with narcissus bulbs.
I want
to wake again
three months later
in your world,
a small, paper-white face
standing slender
in the cold.
A green wisp
of nothing,
thin pale feet,
tiny roots
that cling
to a wet, black earth.
One tiny fool
who will still
sing you a love song
in the middle
of a freezing


If what you whispered is true
that you were slain
by the scent of these flowers in my hair
dancing together
all those nights in early summer

then I will find some way
to grow gardenias
out of season
to make them flower
even in our coldest months.

I will summon
their fragrance for you
in falling snow.

Like a secret
I will weave them
in my hair,
even in the dead of winter.

I will float gardenias
in crystal bowls
will find some silent way
to place them at your bedside
beneath every kind of moon

and at the merciless hand
of their scent
I will wish for us both
an infinite number of deaths.

Gabrielle Langley has been featured in the Huffington Post as one of Houston’s important emerging poets (“Five Poets You Need to Know About,” HuffPost 11/23/2015). She was Houston Poetry Fest’s Featured Poet for 2017, a recipient of the Lorene Pouncey Award, Houston Poetry Fest’s Jury Prize, Vivian Nellis Memorial Award for Creative Writing, and an ARTlines national poetry finalist. Her work has been appearing in a variety of literary journals. Ms. Langley is also a founder and editor of Red Sky: poetry on the global epidemic of violence against women (Sable Books – 2016). She works during the day as a licensed mental health professional. To safeguard her own mental health, she writes poetry and dances Argentine tango at night. Additional information about this poet can be found at

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