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the break-through

Emma Rasmussen

i saw love,
or any type of vulnerability,
as a weed suffocating my heart,
squeezing the life out of me,
destroying my chance at freedom.
and every time it tried to grow,

just a little seedling, emerging
from the darkness of the earth,
searching for the light
that it had glimpsed before from a bright,
far-off star, but then came an explosion,
and from the void, nothingness,

i ripped it out
by the roots, taking
the soil with it, for fear
it would come back
and damage my fragile garden

but for ages, nothing grew;
it must have been the chill in the air
that stayed into summer,
and i thought my garden was complete
and found it secure because i felt
that was all i deserved.

but you saw love
as a rose from the very beginning
and took my hand to stop me
from pulling up the masterpiece
we could create together, if i could only
give the weed a chance.


but i had imagined a rose before,
only to discover a weed, and then
what if you were just another dying star?
i couldn’t let my flower grow,
only to let the blinding flare
wither it away to nothing.

i didn’t know you to be toxic, but even
a dying star looks brilliant from a distance,
or maybe my fear turned the soil into stone,
and stone wasn’t the freedom i craved,
but the opposite, so i let you in, and finally,
my rose found the light it had searched for,


not the blue light it expected,
harsh and erratic and unpredictable,
but instead a golden light,
strong and safe and warm.
and it was only then that i realized,
not every star can be the sun.

Spring/Summer, 2020 Issue

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