Your eyes are etched with neglect, hardened with years of acquired strength, dipped in loneliness you made for yourself, and the way you don’t look at me plants an ache deep inside me every time, a tree that burns to ash the moment it starts to grow because what can grow without hope, what can grow without light and food and water, what can grow without a chance—what can flourish when it isn’t wanted, and if you don’t want it, then what are we still doing here?
Adrienne Marie Barrios has work forthcoming in superfroot mag, Autofocus Lit, Sledgehammer Lit, Identity Theory, and trampset. She is editor-in-chief of Reservoir Road Literary Review and edits short stories, poetry collections, and award-winning novels. Find her online at adriennemariebarrios.com.
image: Paul Ruta • paulthomasruta.com • @paulruta