Poetry: Where Roses Grow by Zainab F. Raza

 Genre: Relationship, Love, Hope

The buzzing fluorescents flick on, and my door is locked.
I do feel less vulnerable, and it’s mostly because I’m alone,
I’m not with ones that are on the other side of this door,
mostly because I need to see something, and
bathroom’s are best for doing so. If that makes any sense.
Not sure how to feel about myself anymore,
but if time is capacious just for me, I’ll find that nudging
epiphany of emotional remark somewhere amongst the
convolutedly, personal judgments streaked on mirrors.
My heart is arid like a transient desert, but often when
the concreted dirt cracks, it cracks with light peering
out as liquid to fecundate these thoughts. And these thoughts
are like little children of divorce, and kids of infidelity, and abuse,
but they’re in nature so pure. Quite possibly innocent too.
They’re a reflection. I’m looking at myself in the bathroom,
my feet cold on linoleum, my blotchy skin becoming more obvious.
This is reality. This is what it’s like to be me, pimple scars
weighing heavy on the left and crows feet enhanced as
though they’re welcome to stay. Disproportionate lips,
and a ball of for a nose. I’ve got facial hair that I’m too
scared to remove, and lashes that are short of aesthetic
standards. This is me, this is what it’s like to live in the
real world as me. It’s not so much painful as it is painstaking,
while I try to get to know what it is that I’m here for.
What I want to be here for. It’s like there are two sides of me,
and they can’t stand each other anymore.
Right now, I’m here to take a shit. But if phosphoric streams
were to ever raise this camaraderie of pieced words,
then maybe my heart would be a forest. I’d have trees in evergreen,
I’d have trees in yellow, and orange, and all of autumn.
I’d have all four seasons to imitate each state of emotion
behind closed doors. But to grow life, it’ll take as long
as it should, and that will be a long time, because as of now,
I’m still bearing not sunlight, but sun-heat. It’ll take a lot of
rainy days for rainbows, where each drop pushes itself
through gray matter; where those judgements exist.
Convoluted. Where lately I’ve been understanding myself
more than what the night has to indoctrinate and day has to teach.
I’m still in the bathroom, not ready for others, because
everyday is like a comparison and I see no beauty.
Nothing there for me, but these empty, shallow lies I keep
insulting myself with. “You are pretty; you are unique.”
I mean, unique is good, and this certainly isn’t about fitting in,
or dismissing differences; it’s about lies. It’s firstly a knowing
to feel about myself. And nobody is that original, nobody.
So why the fuck am I still in the bathroom, not ready for others?
Everyday shouldn’t be a comparison, yet I see none of that beauty,
and yet I see me cheating on myself. Falling for anything other
than who I am told to be. These “groundbreaking” epiphanies
should be saving me, so where is the fucking enlightenment?
See, it’s a bad place to linger before that time we carry like bags
on our shoulders, that weight in our chests, that pressure
in the head, demises. That time we greatly speak of, stretches
to when we’re popped out like drops, and locked in like
treasure in a box, it’s one fluid move actually.
But gray is a dangerous number to dance to, gray isn’t
supposed to tell you much, gray is just supposed be a
catalyst of consistency. And darkness is to the moon and
day is to the one essence of lucidity that many, many sets
of today’s lingo claim relevancy to, all trying to teach
something as we get older. I’m not sure how I feel yet, but there’s
an emotion retorting to all of this at the pit of my belly; poking me.
Telling me I’m not as dead as I anticipated, and telling me
I’m as alive as I want to be, with veins as rivers, telling me my
heart is a pool of red. Where roses grow.
And I thought that maybe it would snow here, and each
snowflake would lay light on tired shoulders to whisper
wholesome news in my ears like music. Maybe float onto
my head like dander, or sneak for warmth in my cleavage.
I thought it would get cold like linoleum in the late a.m.
I thought I could move to the words, and sway to twirl.
I thought this place could be a tundra or a jungle or the
capacious space. I thought it could be everything,
everything, it could be the universe. But I didn’t think I’d
be mother to a garden, pregnant with an emblem
of this beauty I tried to dismiss. This is my daughter. This is real.
I look in the mirror, and I balance two of these
rare-coming thoughts or epiphanies or feelings,
emotions, ideas; it’s good to accept, and it’s also
great to bring a change to accept. It happens when you’re
in the darkest of days, somehow I may not be completely
original, but it is ok. Because I am one with the
others that are waiting in line to take a shit. But I’m still here.
Looking closer at the streaks, because they’re little handprints,
little fingerprints comprised of intricately dedicated patterns.
Lines. I see lines. I wasn’t seeing lies. They’re not black,
and definitely not white, but if I look at them carefully,
it’s like I’m seeing myself better. I’m not supposed to
be here that long, someone’s going to knock eventually,
because time will end here, and time will end soon.
My petals are like unique and pretty little kids, and
they’re innocently, purely fragrant, sitting on my shoulders,
in my head, on my chest. I can feel me again.
The way I was, the way I want to be. You may not understand,
but youth is merely a reflection of ourselves, and all of this is me,
and I am impregnably both the day and the night,
the adult and the angel, the mother and her child,
the bathroom and beyond the bathroom, everything
and a garden too, I am everyone and I am myself.
I am two, hatred and love; we’re a couple constantly
divorcing one another, cheating on one another, abusing each other.
My heart had become arid like the trascient desert,
but discomfort calls upon change like seasons,
and it’s been raining so hard, and my heart is
cracking in light of flowers. Red like my blood.
I look in the mirror, and nothing has changed.
My acne is still here along with my circles.
My bottom lip heavier than the top,
and my nose is still as doughy as it was,
but that doesn’t matter.
This is where roses grow.


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