There are no white flowers in the meadow.

The ones that appear white from a distance are really just bleached coneflowers,

Their petals burnt by the sun.

It’s hard to hate up close, the saying goes.

Non disputable. But also: the closer you get, the more your heart breaks.


Harriet McBryde Johnson, in her reflection

On meeting (outwardly polite) eugenicist Peter Singer,

Concludes she cannot think of him as a monster,

Even though he believes the world would be better if disabled people

Like herself had not been born.

Harriet McBryde Johnson cannot bring herself to think of him as a monster because,

She realizes, that would mean people she interacts with daily would be monsters too.


We find a flower press in the basement—two panels of wood

Screwed together to make a sandwich of petals and stems.

The coneflowers, pink or white-petaled, resist transformation,

Their middles too stubborn to be flattened.