is a thorn-ripped hole, at first, dad

your absence
a blood-pooled maw where i throw things
never to be seen again

i lie,
i will revisit them every single day
for years
after a time, it shapeshifts into something like

because i’m still here and you are not here
and i am able to halfheartedly enjoy small things like
the vase of pink carnations on the kitchen table
that you would have brought in for me
that i picked alone
this year

i am grateful even for my ragged bloom
something i watched you struggle
to do

and slowly
this flower of guilt
reaches full bloom
each petal reaching for something
like hope

like the promise of time
the small hand of my daughter who
you would
have loved.

Mela Blust is a Pushcart Prize and three time Best of the Net nominee, and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Rust+Moth, The Nassau Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, Coffin Bell, Collective Unrest, and many more. Her debut poetry collection, Skeleton Parade, is available with Apep Publications. Mela is a contributing editor for Barren Magazine and can be followed at