103

On summer days, I’d dream of flowers
wildly tamed in a tweed bouquet
delicate daisies, soft touches
I feel the wind in my fingertips

Often I dread how
summer passes in the blink of an eye
in the heat of the moment
I hope it slows down
I hope the cool will calm me

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102

I’m finding myself in hidden places
in foods I swore I hated
in places I swore I’ve been
perhaps in a past life
I could’ve been them all.

I think of each time I’ve grown
when I’ve nurtured myself from seed alone
tended to leaves that withered
waiting for them to grow back, stronger
I’ve been told that I overprune
that I’m quick to discard
failure as incurable

Perhaps one day I’ll learn
growth from grief
and leave the ugly parts alone.

100

at camp, we’d play crazy eights
on nights after lights out
when we couldn’t quite sleep
our flashlights illuminate
the wood flooring, pock-marked
signs of campers
from years passed

we’d split the deck and laugh quietly
sharing stories of our lives outside of this cabin
of relationships and boys and hard math tests
we’d shuffle ourselves around to
stay in the light

I miss that innocence so much
of laying my cards out and not
caring what anyone thought
inevitable, at the end of crazy eights, the
person with nothing left, wins.

99

a song comes on that reminds you
of everything you used to feel
and when it’s over, you play it again

funny how memories are debossed on music
like grooves in a record
and we swear we’ll never replay old mistakes
until we do

98

350 degrees
bake for 8-10 minutes
until golden at the edges

the smell of cookies would wander through rooms
dance us through nostalgia
and we’d count down the minutes until
we could burn the tips of our tongues
by choice

as a child I’d imagine all the things I’d get up to
all the cookies I could eat without
permission granted
if only I was older

today, I’m on the precipice of the rest of my life
and consumed by what the right choice is
or even if there is one
I recall that sense of fearlessness
of burning myself and not thinking twice
I could use some of that bravery now

97

the tale of my life
marred with working class dreams
and making ends meet
and violent boys
and skipping dinners I didn’t deserve

if it’s really true that we all have our own burdens to carry
and some are invisible and some are so terribly heavy
I hope that the words I write down and the stories I tell
of every bad thing that’s ever happened to me
become someone else’s survival guide
in how to be thrown into the depths
when you swore you weren’t the drowning type
and learning how to swim to shore.

 

 

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love,
ELLE