hope he found joy thought one day maybe my uncle could teach me how, to paint, always admired his art; didn't know how tortured his soul was- he was thirty six when he passed, he had his whole life ahead of him; yet his mind had become a prison that wouldn't give him peace - so i hope now that he gets to paint sunsets, and sculpt stars and flowers; i hope that he is able to know joy as he couldn't know on earth. my beaches aren't for everyone i was made to feel like that nothing i ever did would be good enough, and i struggled on my own to navigate my oceans of emotions; there was so many tears and so much anger and so much pain and the constant question that gnawed at me: why wasn't i worthy of love? all i ever wanted was to be loved, all i ever wanted was to be appreciated; all i wanted was to be seen for who i was- & yet everyone wanted me to be someone i wasn't so they could be comfortable, but now that i have found my magic and my power and understand the language of my heart and soul and know the mythology of my bones i have left behind my shallows; and if they cannot swim in my oceans then let them sit on the sand and remain there my beaches aren't for everyone. beauty in my feathers i have never belonged, and there was once a time i tried; but i have always been a wild bird that never accepted the confines of the cage nor the necessary songs- my music wasn't like those of the songbirds, and my colors weren't the same as the canaries and parrots; i was a raven in a sea of birds that were taught never to trust me just because i was different- i used to cry thinking i wasn't worthy of love but now i realize my weird has and always will be beautiful even if i am not always appreciated there is beauty in my feathers. Bio: Linda M. Crate (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian writer. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has seven published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019), and the samurai (Yellow Arrowing Publishing, October 2020), and three micro-chapbooks Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018), moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020), and & so i believe (Origami Poems Project, April 2021). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). She also has three full-length poetry collections, the latest being You Will Not Control Me (Cyberwit, March 2021).