by Ashley Bao
there is a comfort in shrinking,
in growing so small not even a microscope
could discern your stamen from the indistinct glow
of the light shining from the bottom.
the easiest thing to do is to do nothing,
to wipe your skeletal fingers off with stained dandelion leaves,
zip your mouth shut with plastic ties your mother usually
reserves for check-in suitcases.
there is a comfort to listening to others’ words,
to let their diction cut you like a serrated meat cleaver,
wait for someone else, one who hasn’t locked their thoughts
in so tightly not even a shrink could pry them apart.
wait, and you’ll never be wrong.
your petals furl into you, limbs
clench as they fold further and further into your
ribcage. no children will come pluck you clean,
if your pretty bits are already tucked away in hiding.
you used to spend saturday mornings
at the lazy creek, glass water cracking against
smooth river rocks. you used to pick every
daisy, wish upon each stolen piece of beauty.
all they wanted was someone to notice them.
Ashley Bao is a Chinese-Canadian-American high school junior. She spends her time writing and dreaming, mostly about cats. Her poetry and short fiction has been published/is forthcoming in Liminality, Strange Horizons, and Cast of Wonders.