if you’re lucky to die before it does.
Crayola didn’t set out to prove that
there are still some fears left to scorch in this
firecracker world. They kill trees, then my
autograph with colours that match my blood.
My fears are all alive, but don’t make me
pray at that altar of burnt-out youth. This
is why the cowardly lion knows I’m
cowardly. My electrons just got charged
for arson—hands wrapped around the metal
so tight that scarlet dripped down and made a
masterpiece out of me. Pyrotechnics
were going off in my head; somehow
the world didn’t collapse or light my fire.
Ottavia Paluch is fifteen, disabled, and Canadian. A Gigantic Sequins Teen Sequin for 2018, her work is published or forthcoming in Kissing Dynamite, The Cerurove, Alexandria Quarterly, Ghost City Review, and The Rising Phoenix Review, among other places.