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Before

December 20, 2018

when I think about me
I don’t think of anything.
I listen to the whisper of
melting snow- the snap of spring and
a muddy surrender under my feet
I imagine I am a quiet place, a still pond,
a nook to sit and think, absent of complexity
and try to drown this sinking feeling

 

when I think about her
I try not to think of me.
I wonder what the frog sings
or how the dragonfly laughs, I wonder how
dizzy fantasies and amber monarchs
pirouette in the pit of my stomach,
because I cannot control my own body,
suffering under this heavy drop
and incessant tug of affection.
so instead I think about
the before, candid and sublime,
when our teenage hearts hadn’t grown yet

 

how she taught me to create
worlds beyond the bored drum of summer
when I’d skip ballet lessons,
ignore dishes desperate for washing,
forget about the boy down the road,
all to sit on the porch steps with her
and make friendship bracelets

 

but now I am hypnotized,
made a fool by her iridescent soul

celestial eyes and crater of a heart
everyday is like fresh dew
on a softly mowed lawn
or the feeling of waking up with the sun,
or remembering the taste of your own voice
after years of silence.

 

in the before, she braided
sticky locks of my golden hair,
unafraid of the knots
and promised we were fairies
when I was really a witch.
she plucked blushing honeysuckles
while I cackled belly-laughs at birds
who were friends just like us. we soared
over fallen birch trees,
hid behind rocks from the old man
with starved hands, left reminders of us
in the woods, searched for spoons in the creek,
renamed ourselves and cut each other's hair.
but these childhood polaroids no longer matter
in the before

 

because now, she is calling me beautiful
as if it is my name,
the words falling out of her lips
so sweet and slow like syrup. everything is different
yet the same because now,
she is planting her roots, and blooming
like a wildflower, reaching
healing the dark trenches of me. and she is still a chasm,
brimming with love, just like before

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