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by Alahnna Balmeo

At 14, we snuck out & drove to El Centro
I fell in an empty lot & cut open the flesh
where my ring finger meets my palm
I never loved another man
as much as I loved you
but there were more than a handful of women

At 17, I jumped into the Pacific Ocean
& watched my blood bubble to the surface
a long trail from the bottom up
seagrass & seaglass
This is the color of California to me

At 23, I did her make-up in Dallas
The Photographer took close-ups of her cunt


At 7, we played in grandma’s front yard
The snails crawled up our arms
leaving kisses like panty stains
My imaginary friend Sweetie
watched us from the porch

At 21, I sat in front of a therapist
& said

She handed me a Bible
I never visited her again











At 19, I swallowed for the first time
He hadn’t showered in days


At 27, I ran 3 miles & saw God
He was a seventy-pound black mutt
who was all bite no bark
with a greying mane
God rummaged through a pile of trash
as I walked on


At 1
day old
I was the first breath to escape
your well-

Then & Now, you must think
I live to make you bleed


is this the color of California
to you?


Alahnna Balmeo was born in California, where she learned how to curse, but not swim. She was previously mentioned in the San Diego CityBeats as a “local author on the verge.” When she is not reading Japanese literature, Alahnna enjoys joyrides, napping and spending time with her fiance.

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