by Rachel Jackson
Second Place Winner
it snows in the middle of april
weeds grow in the middle of a rose garden
you color outside the lines
love gets tucked away in a back drawer,
in a forgotten room of the heart.
i still write poems for you,
the same way other people
bring flowers to graves.
and i want you to know
that i’m glad i am the name
that softly dies at your lips
and not the girl
you talk about at parties.
i shifted my edges
to match your puzzle piece
so you wouldn’t have to change at all.
and you never appreciated it,
but i broke every rule for you,
i broke every piece of my heart for you.
i remember everything.
like how you love cherry slushies more than life
how you long for savannah georgia’s sweet air.
i bet you don’t even remember
my favorite color.
but that’s okay because
i have learned
that attention isn’t love
and life is too abundant to only be half-lived
through a dimly lit phone screen.
i once thought i needed mountains
or dazzling city lights,
but the truth is, i will be content
wherever my feet are.
i have figured out that when you bury sadness in your veins,
it makes roots in your heart.
so i breathe it out instead.
i taught my feet to stand confident
and to shake off the need to walk back
into thorns that hurt me or hurt others.
i don’t need approval because i am built for my purpose
and i stand firm
in who i am created to be.
i know i want to be loved with passion
and not nice, half-hearted words.
i know where i am flawed,
and i have granted myself the grace
to patch those places up and change for the better.
i have realized that true friendships
are more valuable than gold
and showing your scars waters the soil
in others so they can bloom.
i’m not scared to walk down
any path anymore,
because i don’t see life the way i used to.
i see everything through a lens of freedom.
the healing came slowly and quietly.
but it came fully.
you wouldn't recognize me anymore.
because i became the person you always wanted me to be.
but i did it for me and not for you.
About the Author
“I am a 20-year-old Physical Therapy student at Maryville University
in St. Louis, MO. I have been in love with words and stringing them
together in poems and stories ever since I was a little girl. Besides
writing and school, I love to play soccer, read books, and hang out with my
cute puppy. My passion is people and I primarily write about my faith in
hopes that it will encourage others.”