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Bloom This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I have heart strings playing to the
tune of your spinal chords -

and I’m trying to cut every
single
one of them.

The photos from my camera throat may
be negatives, but my chemicals just
develop them differently - a concoction
of bad memories, of nightmares and photos
pushed face down into the desk
in the middle of the night in a sweat -

the time regret started to bloom like a corpse flower
in my chest, and left my words as poisonous,
passive-aggressive pin pricks;

making you sad isn’t a leisurely pleasure,
it’s a cry for help, for cease and desist;
look at the photos
ejecting from my lips - pretend you
were me tonight and see
them develop, what will
bloom to color in your night vision.

You’d force my photo to the desk,
writhe in the uncertainty of my smile
and wonder just who in the world could
love you best, and the doubt shadows will
unfurl -

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty;
I know you never meant to hurt me,
but my love has been a sprint against a hurricane
and I’m trying to find the eye
that once smiled so warmly against the storm;

I never had to question the beads of sun
dripping through to keep me warm but
I never expected night to fall like lead
down the billowed cities,

and I never expected the light to just
keep on falling once it hit
the horizon -

I've been writing a ladder
and trying to climb it faster
before my thoughts leap
from the skyscrapers
to escape the rain;

you can’t expect to get
anywhere until the night stops falling
but it’s impossible to wait when
the furnaces in your basements explode, and
fear and hate burst like fire
into your dark rooms because
there’s only so much we can take,
only so much we can give,
only so much we can hope
before the photos curl like
cocoons around us -

I don’t know who has some
growing to do, but my feathers sit
on the cage floor like prayers
and I don’t feel like singing
so off-tune;

it’s hard to tell yourself you
hopped the wrong line,
missed the subway doors, now
closing, now
closed.

Now you're stuck in the storm.

It’s hard to believe a mistake,
when you see one, lie in the
chemical bath and let the wind come
tear the photos
from their frames,
and realize what is really
on the paper once the colors fully
bloom

and blow away
with the wind.




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