Golden Afternoon

Nicole Zelniker

The flowers taught Alice
Everything she knows.

They taught her bees
And butterflies
And not to trust a rose
Before you check for thorns.
You can bleed that way.

In the spring,
They taught her strength.
Vibrant songs
From roots underground.
They taught fragility come fall:
Wilting petals
And browning stems.




Nicole Zelniker is an editor researcher at The Conversation US. A creative writer as well as a journalist, she has had several pieces of poetry and short stories published. Nicole is also the author of Mixed, a non-fiction book about race and mixed-race families. Check out the rest of her work at