Unlearning to Love Myself

Roses keep trying to bloom out of my mouth.

I clamp it tight every day, making the thorns rip through my tongue and scar the inside of my cheeks

Lest someone mistake this wasteland for florist and be pricked.

“Roses are for funerals,” they told me. “So you must be a graveyard.”

I must be a graveyard.
And none wants to look a dead thing in the mouth.

So I keep myself locked tight as I swallow every thorn.

Some nights I remember when I was a garden:

When the roses bloomed with no cage,
When I could smell the hydrangeas on my lips,
When butterflies came to rest on the tip of my tongue,

When I wasn’t constantly wiping blood from my gates.
When I wasn’t trying to please those who only have opinions and never answers.

Before they told me that roses are for funerals,
And I still loving called myself a Garden.

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