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Asphalt Gardens
by Louis Efron

like choreographed pixelated stills

capturing splashing raindrops

on pristine cotton-white daisy petals

we cut out

          spray-painted dumpsters

          our pimpled and pockmarked skin and

                   crooked teeth


desperately wanting to be seen

as someone else


through angled lenses, apps, and filters

            pulling radiant light

                       from strained faces

                                  into untouchable realities

framed on wafer-thin electronic mirrors

           pumping flat cherry-red hearts

                      from unfamiliar crowds

           slightly curl the corners of our mouths


                                                into soft smiles

for a world that only briefly loves us

trying to stand out

like wild daisies growing

in alleyway asphalt cracks

          never safe

          from being trampled

                   by those who

                   fail to see

                                           our unaltered beauty

Louis Efron is a Pushcart-nominated and award-winning writer and poet who has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, North Dakota Quarterly, Ginosko, Jasper’s Folly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, A New Ulster, Flapper Press Poetry Café, PentaCat Press, Words and Whispers, Bourgeon, The Deronda Review, Young Ravens Literary Review, The Ravens Perch, POETiCA REViEW, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Literary Yard, New Reader Magazine and over 100 other national and global publications. He is also the author of five books, including The Unempty Spaces Between (winner of the 2023 NYC Big Book Award for poetry), How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love; Purpose Meets Execution; Beyond the Ink; as well as the children’s book What Kind of Bee Can I Be?

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