emily paluba


holding your hand was like holding
a shadow. i fumbled for a grip
i never found.

you always looked like
prey in
the passenger’s side.

i no longer
chase silhouettes
who chase everything
but me.

whose definition of full
will leave them empty
and prove
love is not enough.

something behind your brown eyes
made my heart wilt
no matter the words
you gently laid on my skin.

i’m still learning how
to feel complete.
to feel like every crease
in my skin is a home
for flowers
to feel like my organs
are the soil
for everlasting trees
of green and orange.

still learning how
to open my breast
whenever water is near.

still learning how
to love myself
with the same ferocity
i loved you.

still learning how to keep
my arms around my body
instead of reaching out
toward you,

never even there to begin with.


Emily Paluba (she/her) is a 20-year-old queer poet and writer from New Jersey. She indulges in many art forms, including slam poetry, sketching, and flash fiction. She writes about anything that tugs at her soul. Her work appears in Queerlings and Full House Literary. When she’s not in her notebook, you can find her horseback riding, walking her dog, or on Instagram @eapwriting and Twitter @emilyywrites.