photo of thorny plant

The Planting by Stephen V. Ramey

He came from the soil fully formed. Glorious. Perfect. He was my son.

You uprooted him, nailed him to a trellis, and stood back to watch his faith in me whither. I saw his penis become the first thorn, his face condensed to a kernel. You told him I did not love him. He came to believe you.

You know me as the gardener, a man with perpetually dark fingernails and creased leather skin. You do not recognize the deeper truth. I have been patient. I have cultivated more than you understand.

Tonight I will smother your virgin daughter in kisses, plant a new son inside her womb. One that you cannot so easily tear from the loam.


Stephen V. Ramey’s short works have appeared in many places, most recently Lucidplay’s Glass Eye Chandelier anthology, Gone Lawn, and Crack the Spine. He lives in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania, and edits the twitterzine, trapeze. Find him at

Lead image“Thorn” (via Flickr user Florian Pircher)