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First Bloom

Look again. This is not
some common hustle
here by the road. Gaudy
does not always mean
cheap, but yes, she looks
a little trashy there
in all that lipstick. She
is young—she follows
her own bright vision.

See how she teeters
without support, fully
flared weight hoisted
by a skinny leg on tiptoe.
She must have sneaked
out barefoot from the
basement to be here
first. Picked her way
up through the tangled
thatch while everyone
slept. Put on her
makeup without a
mirror or a friend.
She means business.

See what she has to do
to rouse the heatless
heart of a world where
we have lived too long
in the dark, tipped
away from the sun,
acquiring a taste for
emptiness
in the colors of grief.
No wonder she has
to try so hard.

See how she spills her
thrill of neon fuchsia
freely into the crusted
monochrome. See
how she dances for us
at the pleasure of the
wind, alone with no
piano, lit by nothing
more than her own
shameless flamingo
flame atop this little
battered stage
of dirty snow.

This is the kind of
uncommon hustle
we need from the
first bloom springing
the flat earth open
at our feet–proof
of life at its tacky,
plump-cheeked best,
too much rouge,
two-tone eyelids,
hot pink lips
elliptical, electrical
clamoring for love.

Susan Chock Salgy studied creative writing at Brigham Young University, and writes poetry, essays, and non-fiction. Recent publications include her essay “Indelible,” which appears in Glassworks Magazine, and poetry appearing in The Sunlight Press and The Magnolia Review. Her essay, “The COVID Interregnum” appears in Pages Penned in Pandemic: A Collective, published in January 2021.  She and her husband live (and garden) in Provo, Utah (Zone 6b).

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