Start with Beautiful and Go From There


Pink blossoms in a terra cotta pot, a real pot,
red clay, with cracks and sweet crumbles, lovely
imperfections holding these beauties.
I don’t remember planting them.


There she was: bright yellow bird, deep black wings
sitting in the bottlebrush bush, and I knew it was a sign from Grandma.
Just as I knew I’d have a boy. Each time.
Just as I knew the biopsy would be positive for breast cancer.


I still fold laundry like my mother taught me:
arms wide holding sheets, hands meet in the middle,
and always, same as she did, the long stare
looking at nothing but a window full of sky.


When I was seven, I believed in Mom and Dad
and the Holy Ghost. That child heart, crisp and clean,
lodged in my chest like another life.

Victoria Melekian lives in Carlsbad, California. Her stories and poems have been published in Mudfish, Literary Orphans, Atlanta Review, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Word Riot, and other anthologies. She’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a runner-up in the 2018 Bath Flash Fiction Novella-in-Flash Award. Her story “What I Don’t Tell Him” aired on NPR. She’s twice won a San Diego Book Award. For more, visit

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