“Inheritance” & “Anniversary” by Freddie Blooms

Illustration of a window opening out on blue background


i bring only parts of my self
when i come home, i say
only secret if we don’t name it

sound of grief in your throat
accept this truth in
open air, our secrets, you don’t bring
your whole self either, hold
our family’s shame in your
sternum, what keeps you
humming, grindstone, freedom
illusions of power until
truth is exposed and you see
we have never been free. what you
don’t yet know is that
freedom lives in the fight

even as blood hits the pavement
we wear sweaters stitched in
sweatshops, we sleep on stolen
land, struggle in our own
shadows but in moments i can feel it —

like the time i sat a week
in silence then walked through the
boardwalk’s symphonic cacophony
locked eyes with the girl behind
the whack-a-mole stand and we
smiled, like we knew each other. like we knew
beneath the noise and the money and
the fear, our beating hearts might
be enough. back in our mother’s garden,
roses bloom, petals and thorns
glisten, grow twisted and
tall, climb toward a taste of the sky.


my cat spends the night out again and i find myself fixated. what if she returns to me yowling,
bloodied, on the brink of death. on this day, of all days. give me an excuse to call my ex. beg not
to be alone. i hope she doesn’t come home, so i can finally be alone. i hope she doesn’t come
home, so i can get a new kitten — perfect, young. yet unmarred from trauma.

it’s the anniversary of life leaving her
yet again and i’m reluctant, with so
little to say but maybe it still means
something to hear from me. i sink

into the memory of the night
before. so stoned i couldn’t finish
a sentence and i’ve never
forgiven myself. like if i weren’t
so stoned i would have been by
her side instead and she wouldn’t be
dead. it doesn’t make sense but
it doesn’t have to. it’s stuck to me.

the last night we spent together, we
lay on the couch watching a movie,
like most days near the end. what i
didn’t know is i would be searching
for her forever. except forever hasn’t
happened yet, so who’s to say. i always

fear i am sheltering a secret. do
secrets have to be true? the truth is
nobody knows who she would be
today but we love her regardless.
her face, her shine, frozen in our
minds while our bodies age,
our hearts ease their grip.

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freddie blooms is a queer and trans artist and abolitionist organizer living on Coastal Miwok territory in Sonoma County, California. Their first collection of poetry, what happens before the sun rises, was published by Flower Press in 2020. IG: @freddieblooms.

Faye Orlove is an artist and activist living in Los Angeles. In 2015, she founded Junior High — a non-profit community space for marginalized artists — and in 2020 it closed due to a violently mismanaged and traumatic handling of the Coronavirus. In 2021, Junior High will reopen, Faye will get married, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians will come to a bitter end. Follow her @fayeorlove for mostly pictures of cats!