my initials are BA. stands for badass
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The Last Semester


pop’s delightful voice laughs
”show auntie”

warm and puffy
boils in my throat

my long fingers slide buttons through tight holes of shirt
left hand clasps collar
tugs it aside
revealing black lines above my heart
growing into a rose
most expensive flower
my wallet’s mouth opens for
everlasting etching on my skin
line work by an artist: Vinh
my first

auntie’s rimmed glasses move down her nose
her wide eyes yelp
her curved line sags even more

my eyes smile
teeth tighten together
trying to trap anxiousness inside

her wrinkled brown hands appear on my hip
turns me so my back faces her front

red nails dig down into blue edge of my shirt
elevates it into the air
exposing my bare brown back
my ribs pointing out like metal rings
the hairs on my neck now feel her eyes shouting
searching for more black lines
the curves of my listening holes point up
as they welcome her quick voice

”Last one, right”

my heart breathes
”No” we say

though this black line rose causes
eyes to yell
frowns to stare
necks to rotate heads horizontal

this rose plants seeds in my head
that teach me
to love myself
to love her again

the one who celebrates my first breath at the hospital
after several heavy breaths
coming in and out of her lungs like a revolving door
the one who now rests easy in the ground
with engraved roses, her favorite
growing on her grey grave stone

following thousand needles poking my skin session
seeds sprout in my mind’s mush
as my eyes trace words of after-care

if eyes don’t shut for at least 6 hours
if booze overflows your red rivers
if your mind travels to ceiling for too long
your rose won’t grow

out of these muddy metaphors, the idea grows
if i don’t take care of me
these black lines
weaving to form the essence of my mother
a rose
won’t bloom with beauty
after pushing past texture of scaly scabs and loose lotion

though this flowery black mix of lines
sends stigmatizing stares to my center
it teaches me to shut my eyes for 6 hours
fill my digestion sack with nourishing nutrients
lather with lotion not only my sometimes smoke brown skin
but also this rose
she who does all these acts to me during playground days

every time i do these acts
i remember to love her
to love me
in spite of judging glares
cutthroat criticisms
being friends with misunderstood depression

every time i water with moisturizer
black line petals of this rose
i lather love on me, but also her
a beautiful flower
growing against mental and structuring structures

films almos done. i wrote this poem during my sociology seminar class.

the film is almost done.

i realized that i'm not eating that much and i need to eat a bit more, but i keep forgetting to pack enough food.

i'm trying not to spend money because i don't know what i'm going to be doing this summer?

Bradley Afroilan