Paint to Poetry: Orange Glow

3 April 2019

(Content warning: mental illness)

The little orange ladybird
crawling at the tip of my finger
keeps asking
why I can’t see amber lights
flashing in my eyes
that should be a calm
ocean blue.

She tells me,
I should be painting my skin
in mandarin and citrus,
the orange glow
of sunsets I’m avoiding.
I don’t want to remember
that the ash sinks with the sun
into my stomach when
the fire goes out.

She tells me,
“The orange peel
will unravel like a path to follow
before you rust out.
Find the gerberas, the deliahs.”

The acidity burns my tongue,
and boils my skin
more than R U OK ribbons
I struggle to attach
anywhere I see.

Everything crunches
like autumn leaves and
I can’t move like her.
Wandering into flowers,
I pick them,

But only for others.

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