That flower, though

Botanically, it makes no sense.

I’ve got a non-native Hondapara tree in my yard that’s been there for at least 70 years. It usually drops large, heavy fruits about the size of softballs that don’t do anything interesting. This one dropped early…it’s a little smaller than a billiard ball…and it opened with this perfect little flower in it!

– Mike Kiniry

Botanically, it makes no sense, skipping the plant stage to flower in utero. Aesthetically, it’s a dream come true.

While working with the marvelous Michael McInnis of Nixes Mate to produce my book ahead of its pub date in March of 2020, I was reminded of this photo, taken by my dear friend Mike Kiniry a few years ago. Gosh, it’s stunning. And it just says so much of what’s in my book – cycles of creation and destruction, reinvention and loss, new beginnings and coming to terms with endings.

A tree better known in India living almost a century in the subtropics of Florida. There’s a metaphorical correspondence there, too, to the diaspora of the human heart, which is often a theme of my work. It’s the upside down mirror twin to my Germ Suspended.

Being the sweet fellow he is, my friend eagerly agreed to grant me permission to use his flower for my cover. And Michael McInnis did a most elegant job working it into the cover motif in a style befitting the entire Nixes Mate catalog. I knew that for my first collection, I wanted a book that looked beautiful and felt good to the touch.

This is probably as good a place as any to also shout out to Annie Pluto, who served as a gentle and expert midwife through the editorial process.

As you read this, I wish for you to find flowers growing in unexpected places.