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Iris

How are things?

I cannot tell her

of the sinkhole that I have sunken into,

so I paint for her the earth instead.


The poems are fine, the poems are fine.

The dandelions sprouted up around the

crazy bin early this year;

they are just a sight to see.


There is no broken vase,

gentle dignity’s flowers cast onto the floor and cut with glass;

there is no identity grief,

every dog-eared page of my medication-riddled memory laid to scatter;

there is no learning to live without,

no finger-painted paranoia laced through with day-to-day.


How are things?

I cannot tell her

of all the worlds coming to being

in my brain, seeded, watered, peeled open,

of their colors, their shapes, their tastes,


so instead I turn off the lights,

tear inky soil from the wall in teaspoons,

extend it towards her.


You cannot see it yet, I say,

but here there is brightness,

life swimming in color,

reading my own palm through the dirt.

For a moment, we are the irises

growing out of my hand,

steeped in the right kind of brokenness,

the kind that lets in the light.

Her eyes flutter closed so softly,

so unwilling to disbelieve.


How are things?

I tell her that I have never once

looked into a mirror and asked

myself, are you sure?

I tell her that I am my mother’s daughter, after all.

I am sure of everything.

I am sure of everything.


Perhaps the most beautiful thing about a broken mind

is that what you see

is all your own,

is the letting go,

is what I don’t tell her.



Lexi Deeter is a first-year at Olin College. Her work is inspired by her grandfather, Larry Heer.


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