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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Karo Ska

a tulip plucked without consent


a red tulip in a vase,

its final petal ready

to drop: a six year old

child falls asleep, dreams

of six petals wrapped

around her: arms

of her mother, of her

father, of her sister.


years later, she awakes,

alone: no petals, only a stamen

& pistil remain, frightening

her. the tulip's wails swirl

into her hair, she can't

get it out of her head, she can't

get out of bed. she lies there,

muffled in the pillow. she is

the tulip plucked

without consent, left

to die, severed

from her family.


years later, she re-opens

her eyes, finding she is

not a corpse on display, she is

not unpetaled & alone. she lives,

she breathes, she fleshes. she is



years later, slowly,

she re-attaches

petals, choosing the colors,

choosing her family,

re-claiming herself one petal

at a time.

Karo Ska (she/they) is a South Asian & Eastern European non-binary femme, migrant poet, living on occupied Tongva Land (aka Los Angeles) with their black cat muse. Anti-capitalist & anti-authoritarian, they find joy where they can. Their first chapbook, "gathering grandmothers' bones" was released on February 29th, 2020. For updates, follow them on instagram @karoo_skaa or check out their website

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