illustration by Brianna Castagnozzi

by Marisca Pichette

When I lost my skin
I found petals
work just as well.

Folding dahlias into daffodils
tulips between jasmine,
hosta on my feet &
bleeding hearts around my throat.

Where some skin escaped you 
I planted moss in pores:
cultivated fiddleheads in place
of follicles
& watered the creases
you forgot.

When you uprooted my face,
laid bare muscles bleeding
like grapevines cut too short—

I seeded the wounds with thyme
myrtle, aster, yarrow & heather.
My back now thrives
in lavender and phlox.
My heart shelters under daisies
hugging hyacinths close.

Colors run
like tears
like defiance
like survival.

This isn’t your garden.
You may have my skin
but I am something

I grow more each day
blooming, filling the space
you used to burn
with shade.

Marisca Pichette (she/her) is an author of speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. More of her work is published and forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, Fireside, Fusion Fragment, PseudoPod, and PodCastle, among others. A lover of moss and monsters, she lives in Western Massachusetts, USA.

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