Gladiolus

Written by Alma Mark-Fong

Edited by Emerald Liu

I was your pretty American girl
Wasn’t that what you wanted all along?
Dark orbs of hollyhock and skin of pearl
Could never compare and never belong


With the pretty girl with golden-daisy hair
Eyes of blue agapanthus, stars of Bethlehem
Her skin is of petals, rosy and fair
Gentle curves soft and sloping at the stems


If only I too, were fragile and kind
Someone you could love, a girl you designed


I had thought that if only I were yours
I’d make every sacrifice at any loss
I could be the one you’d always longed for
To steal innocence from the girl of past, “at any cost”


Once, the clanking of heavy chains were heard
Over a faintly playing melody
And the wild flapping of a self-caged bird
Entrapped by steel wire, freedom’s reverie


Shackled wrists and ankles clasped in metal
A chain that dragged across the wooden floor
For a love that hurts and binds, I settled
In my mind at least, I was always yours


For you I could be timid and yielding
Hungering to please, unloved and unsure
Abused to lose every passion and feeling
All these years, my worth, you’ve fought to obscure


I’ve come to know it’s not you I adore
For I am more than enough on my own

Once unto you my affections were poured
Don’t cry dearest, these seeds you have sewn

A gladiolus rises from the ground
Not a rose, still a flower, beauty profound

Whose leaves rise as pointed swords in reply
For the enemy unseen attacks in the night
Buds and petals sweeping up to the sky
the unseen enemy is mine own soul, who I must fight

Illustration by Savanna Thao
Instagram: @sthao.art

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