after Camille by Edyta Salak

She never felt like her name fit her,
he felt the same.
She lets her son dress up in leftover pastels,
does not scorn him when he twirls in a dress
only laughs and notes the skirt’s shape as it swirls.
An opening flower, the pink of a cheek,
her own and his.
Her father taught her how to garden
so that she may cultivate a rare child.

In daylight he imagines he’s
a giant creaking in the breeze
covered in bark with pits and pockets
perfect for empty nesting.
In the neon of night
he calls himself Camilla,
for flower, for mother.
He bathes a stage somewhere
in the city with pollen and petals.
Stretched, he reaches for a spotlight
sun, before collapsing into a bow.

*Originally published as “Camilla” through The Poetry Moves Program in Vancouver, Washington.

Alex Vigue is a queer poet and storyteller from Vancouver, Washington, with a bachelor’s in creative writing from Western Washington University. His collection The Myth of Man was a finalist in the Floating Bridge Press chapbook competition and was published in 2017. His work has appeared in Vinyl, Maudlin House, Lockjaw Magazine, and elsewhere. Alex substitute teaches, works retail, and strives to make poetry accessible to everyone. Links to his work and contact information can be found at

Photograph by Grace Madeline.

Leave a Reply