Apologies to Every Empty Daisy Flower

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.




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