i draw a prayer from my gut & skip it
like a stone among tardy stars who missed the bus
en route to the sunrise. i whisper at these car
windowpanes & the moon looming over
the horizon like in San Francisco, when i coiled
tongue like trolley cables & suspension bridges,
perfect to drop toothpicks into steel cylinders
after plucking dill from the gap between teeth. i
wonder if everyone sees pride flags in the
ghost of sunset. i wonder who else
blinks twice & shrinks against their sunspotted retinas
as the moon is shrouded by clouds.


sometimes it feels as if love is a carcinogen
      & space is something to take up in moderation:
            strain it with a slotted spoon.

sometimes rib cages are plateaus & four
      geologists are sent to take samples &
            hack at ossein with hatchets.

sometimes living is performing & stage lights slice
      through oiled thighs like sutured gashes,
            needles sterilized in the gas fireplace.


my father takes my hand, guiding it up the exoskeleton of a valley oak. my fingers snag on the spinal chords of ivy & he watches as i tie a bow around my index finger with the stem, a botanical corpse.

he picks up his shears & saws at bough until the bark can breathe once more. ivy is a parasite, he says, & the prettiest things are often the most fatal. i glance at my finger, with the stalk snaking up from the webbing between my fingers.

i learn that love has a price. i learn that finding love, or even finding out who you love, is no easy feat. i learn how to smell flowers without ever hinging at the hip.


myself, in numbers:

  • 2 cheekbones, sunken into flesh
  • trillions of blood cells
  • 3 eyes, if you count the hurricane in my chest
  • 4 limbs

too many shallow breaths to count


maybe life is not linear & instead
         decrescendos in time with
clock hands & limelight.

Mia Golden (she/her) is a teen poet from California. She is published or forthcoming in Blue Marble Review, Kalopsia Literary Journal, and Indigo Lit. Mia enjoys observing the world around her with a creative eye, often through poetry or photography. She hopes you have a wonderful day!

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