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Purple flower blooms in desert with fence in background
Photo by Delfino Barboza on Unsplash

Deep within clay, hardened by sun
and age, a seed was planted, watered
by desert haze. Every day nourished by neglect,
willed to grow alone in a solitude
of regret. The toughened exterior cracks,
sprouting roots of need, reaching out
into the unknown, wishing to be freed.
Against the grain, malnourished and afraid,
fighting an impoverished life, the seedling
finds no shade. Darkness envelops as the roots
take hold, ready to break the surface
of a life cold. Brittle not broken, vulnerability sinks in,
ambiguity defined by curiosity as life
experience begins. Strength of the stalk breaks
the surface to breathe, taking in the environment, rising
above with greed. Sudden aches and pangs
overwhelm the growth of stem and leaf,
endangered by worlds, prey the nemesis
to truth and grief. With the brisk breeze, the stem
bends in distrust, fragile from love, drought, trauma,
bleeding, disgust. As the sun begins to set, a slight
reprieve from defect, yet nightmares of past events
haunt memories in retrospect. A frightened bud slowly mends
in dusk beneath the stars, longing for acceptance
from wild brush afar. With resilience gained
as dawn encroaches, victory: pistil and stamen
produce blind courage for all atrocities. Through trials
and tribulation, fragile petals take form, folded against
one another, a barrier of protection and warmth.
Stretching toward hope, vibrant color’s stains
bless strangers’ eyes; only gratitude remains. All the struggle,
so precious and true, a magical transition
in the beauty of the bloom. From depths of desolation
to fulfilling life’s need; the love of transformation
began as a quiet little seed.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Jamie Rozelle Harrison is a writer incarcerated in California.