“Flowers For The Sea” by Zin E. Rocklyn Review: Short But Special

Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher regarded that the soul is comprised within parts and should be in equitable balance within the soul. But what happens when your anger balloons over your very existence? Zin E. Rocklyn’s novella “Flowers For The Sea” can be seen as speculative fiction enmeshed in horror where the main character, the pregnant Iraxi is among the last remnants of people living on a ship. This hollow vessel devoid of comfort serves as temporary protection from her extinction and gives Iraxi time to come into and claim her power.


Fiction can be a conduit for generational trauma where we begin to fully understand Iraxi. She’s a woman who denied a prince and through those actions her life took her to her destined path. Choosing a life partner of her own, like her sister wasn’tsomething she was given a choice of. Instead, Iraxi’s fate became a legacy of what her grandmother avoided and now Iraxi must face through a crucible, all while pregnant with a child, who feels more like an unnatural being. This unknown offspring pervades Iraxi immersing her in dreams of the past and a potentially frightening future. What is amazing about this book is that Rocklyn places you inside Iraxi’s body and mind. You smell what she does, feel the pains of labor, rocking on the ark, where you experience being trapped with the sea completely wrapping around you, essentially sensing it all. In reference to the aroma that permeates this slim novel, your nostrils are full to the point that there are times where you hold your breath until Rocklyn’s description of the scene passes. Then the reader exhales, not knowing that they were struggling to breath. 


Throughout the narrative pervades a theme of anger and reconciling the generational trauma that comes with denying being oppressed, where finally that emotion explodes and unfolds like a hurricane tinged with the force of a phoenix. That is the omnipresence of Iraxi’s wrath. Hers can be perceived as an anger of lost love and hope where she craves death but needs to live. There are enemy forces battling within Iraxi and those plotting against her. There’s also the impotence of a lost love, but Rocklyn makes sure that it is Iraxi who is the eye of the storm. We must always keep our focus on her. Rage can be seenas a gift from the ancestors, giving us memories from our previous existences, fueling us to face the trials to come.


There is a scene where Iraxi is entering her home which is on fire. The screaming of flames is loud. Fire can be deafening and traumatizing. Fire can also heal, just as water does throughout this story. Effectively, these natural elements cleanse Iraxi and leads her into accepting her destiny and coming to terms with her trauma. 


“Flowers For The Sea” is a short narrative packed with so much that you have to sit with it. Zin E. Rocklyn will traumatize, then heal you. And you will thank them for it and ask for another.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 634 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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