a boy would give me roses
i hung upside down

sterling silver     almost thornless
sheathed in lavender tissue & bow

in a week they dried
stacked in bins

in shed stockpiled
laid mini coffins

blowing at fallen
eyelash     i rationed hope

maybe                    this time
he will stay

clenched leaves
buds drooped their chins

stems petrified
abandoned by boy

i sailed over
river of mummified roses

eternally entombed
no chance     to bloom

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Karina is a storyteller, dancer, grants manager. She learned about her Philippine roots and American culture through folk dancing as a teenager in San Francisco, where she immigrated with her family as a child. She left her senior year of college to raise her niece and become her legal guardian. Twenty years later, Karina finished her BA in English at the University of San Francisco, where she also earned an MFA in Writing. Karina's writing first appeared as the Poem of the Day for San Francisco Public Library, a poem she wrote about anti-Asian violence in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
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