Skull & Sunflower

Skull & Sunflower

Jonathan Brooks

Skull & Sunflower


Kate Carey

My father was quick to help

those who needed medical attention.

Friends and neighbors always calling,

using my father’s paramedic training to

see if their injury was serious enough to go to the doctor.

I guess he was one of those people

who never learned about emotional emergencies.

Never knew that spiteful words could cause

holes in his children so large

that years later still begged for suture.

Somehow he would run out the door—no shoes on—

to help a seizing cousin

but was blind to the way his shouts seized our world.

For years it was easier to paint him as monster,

a man who sped up on purpose when my mother yelped,

whose eyes bulged like his neck veins when he shouted.

As an adult, there are days I finally fight back

using my voice as a shield.

Those days, I am his spite personified,

and I swear I will publish EVERYTHING,

and I will name his name.

But then there are days like this.

His voice turned smaller by half,

him finding the pulse of a stranger to be adequate.

It is hard for me to reconcile that he has

saved so many lives

while decimating ours.

It’s hard for me to understand the many

he has rescued from a blaze

while he was busy burning down our house.

Kate Carey is a fat slut, a queer polyamorous poet, a true sagittarius. She has written her whole life but doesn’t have a fancy degree to show for it. She does, however, have a network of badass women writers she’s so happy to know thanks to A Room of Her Own Foundation and the Hobart Bookvillage festival of women writers. You can find out more about her here.

Jonathan Brooks' photographs have appeared in numerous publications. His Photos have been featured in movies (Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates and Uncle Drew), the Emmy nominated short film series celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of NEA, and television shows (Oprah Network's David Makes Man, Bravo TV's reality show Southern Charm, The CW's The Vampire Diaries, and Germany’s Only Love Counts). His work has been exhibited in Miami, New York City, Amsterdam, France, Germany, Greece, and the UK.