amanda talbot


“a rose petal pretends, but I always knew:
A rose petal pretends, a rock tells how it is.”

—William Stafford

Dad draws a map of the Atlantic Ocean and points
to where he thinks my sister is.

She’s a big-eared girl lost at sea. 

Before she sank away
into a reclinable hospital bed, before the red reef tunnels

stopped reworking her blood, she collected 

jagged rocks from the shore and he sold roses
to anyone he could manage on the sandy beach.

Three days before Atlantis took her in, I stood

at the edge of her bed, high as a hanging cliff, 
as though she were a fish in a white tank. 

He said that people in comas can hear us, 

they are not empty jars. He said
it was my last opportunity to say I love you.

I didn’t. I watched her dive into open water,

certain she was floating somewhere nearby.
Roses popped up like lily pads 

in the hospital sinks.


Amanda Talbot is a college student at Penn State University pursuing a degree in Spanish and minors in Portuguese and Italian. Her work has appeared in Germ Magazine, Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, CrashTest Mag, and other magazines and journals. Her short poem titled “Grandmothers Have Favorites” has received a Third Prize in the CMU MLK Day Writing Contest. She works as an online English language tutor and lives in State College, PA.