Any Other Name

I have no name
for what it is I have grown into.
It’s so rare to see one in the light;
no room for such a sight
among the roses.
Those few fleshy stalks who dare
so boldly to be seen
soon succumb to the pressure
to be pruned into a sightly shape;
and for this shape, they steal our name
and leave the rest of us, wordless, in the dark.
We are kinks and bulges in improper places;
we are overgrowth, an invasive weed,
trunks bent and leaves scarred
by constant efforts to eradicate us.
It’s never allowed
that we could be “beautiful” —
the only name that confers value —
and the resilience of our winding vines,
the choicest of our tender fruits
are counted as nothing
against the weight
of all that is held against us.
We cannot be pardoned for being weeds,
for taking up space with our spreading roots,
for not being roses.
But if there is not enough space
for us all in the garden,
then instead of trying to be roses,
perhaps it’s time we grew
a bigger fucking garden.

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