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Threads and mortar
Anna Quercia-Thomas (University of Western Australia)



You told me cover yourself in wildflowers,
though petals are thin
and cold might slip through the cracks
if you’re not careful

Bright colours are a form of defense for some species
and I learned years ago to take that in stride,
hung tapestries on my back to hide the signs of decay
ran my nails through the textures
and shook my head like it was natural to be so

But colours cannot hide me here,
without a rainbow to blend with,
among the shades of beige and tan,
sand gloves coating my fingers

You told me maybe I was supposed to be a turtle
because my back is already strong
from the weight of these threads and mortar

I said I would drape an archway over my shoulders like a scarf
You see, it scares me,
feeling the wind on the back of my neck
and I have grown used to laying bricks
over the soft undersides of my skin

You told me cover yourself
in whatever holds up best against the storm
the wildflowers will always grow again
next spring



Anna Quercia-Thomas is a Hispanic American writer and academic currently based in Western Australia. She writes poetry and literary fiction about found family, queer romance, and connection in dark times. Her poetry will be featured in two upcoming anthologies with Wingless Dreamer Publications and New Words Press. Anna is currently in the final year of her PhD at the University of Western Australia.

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