Rachael Gay is a poet and artist from Fargo, North Dakota. Her work has appeared in journals such as Anti-Heroin Chic, The Laurel Review, Rogue Agent, Ghost City Review, Gramma Poetry, FreezeRay Poetry, Rising Phoenix Review and others, as well as the anthology What Keeps Us Here.
I have lost track of the number of bruises on my body
The frost thaws and blood blooms under the skin
a mess of flowering bruises in the shape of hydrangeas.
Copper nestled between the roots shift the color of the blossoms
I smell the blood-like tang on my fingers
before crushing a petal,
imagine that the mingling of scents
is what the inside of my veins smell like.
I kept every bouquet of roses,
wrapped in layer after layer of gaffer’s tape and
throw it from the roof of the state’s second highest building.
The incense sticks extinguish in my carpet
like cigarette butts alongside
rotting beheaded from the summer.
I didn’t understand that the flower
must be kept whole to stay a memory.