Welcome to day five of Teen Sequins 2016! Today’s poem is “& soil” by Talia Flores.
The opening ampersand of “& soil” signals right away to the reader that this will be an intimate poem, a particular coiled fertility. Thalia Flores’ poem is serpentine and rich with mystic undergrowth, a poem to be whispered. With short lines flayed by slashes, Flores’ hand visibly crafts a directive for the reader: where a sharp inhalation is required. In “& soil,” where “blood / seeps tulips,” plant life not only inhabits but is knit into the essence of a human body. Flores’ surreal poem is a fecund field of reversals, busy with the music of new life. — Sophie Klahr
in the bulb of a wet cheek /
a plant sprouts. illuminated
prism / in the spit of caves.
here grows / the heart of a
flower, / a black hole or /
reverse birth. / out of cracked
blood / seeps tulips
freshened stems / caught in
vermilion; / a skin bark and
muscled green. / she combs
her hair to turn it into moss. /
her legs / are those fallen logs
inverted, earthy sestinas /
bark muscled green.
Talia Flores is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and graduated from Eden Prairie High School in 2016. She is the recipient of the 2015 Texas Book Festival Fiction Prize and has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her work appears or is forthcoming in National Poetry Quarterly, Words Dance, Souvenir Lit Journal, Glass Kite Anthology, and more. She was a mentee in The Adroit Journal’s Mentorship Program, and she works as a reader for Polyphony H.S. and as an editorial intern for The Blueshift Journal. She will be attending Stanford University in the fall.
Honorable mentions: Mernine Ameris (George Mason University, Fairfax, VA), Lia Bernhard (Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR), Lauren Gay (Jefferson Community College, Watertown, NY), Emmi Mack (Northside College Prep High School, Chicago, IL (graduate)/ (incoming) Columbia University, New York City, NY), Caroline Tsai (Canterbury High School, Ft.Wayne, IN (graduate)/(incoming) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA)