Olivia Elle, In Remembrance of a Season

TO MY FIRST LOVE

The two of us sit in rocking chairs
side by side on some porch in the country,
a maple tree high above us
or dogs playing in the snow,

two lives reunited
to bloom together, grow old
together, do everything
together—

the perfect pixie dusted
fairy tale of
I’ll wait for her; we’ll meet again;
live happily ever after.

But that isn’t real life, and it isn’t love.
I waited two years before I realized
I’d fooled myself with dreams,
time turning pixie dust to ash.

They say first love isn’t meant to last,
is the first snowfall in winter
and the last maple leaves in fall;
there too quickly and gone too soon

as hope whisks away
with the fallen leaves
and the winter blizzard.
I loved you, but waiting—

no. I threw waiting to the wind
and grew apart from you in more than just miles.
Tried to forget, then tried to remember
as if feelings could be conjured from ashes—

obsessing over every note and letter,
each sign you might be waiting too;
aiming to forget, knowing there’s no chance
with our lives growing separately

and love cut short; forgot, caught up
in other things and other people,
remembered again and pretended
our pixie dust might just float in on the wind.

But you were my first love,
and you won’t be my last.
If you are, then… well.
I guess then I’m still pretending,

caught up in a different dream
where love stops burning.

IN REMEMBRANCE OF A SEASON

I focus on the rower in front of me,
on how her body swings
in perfect time with all the rest;
breathe and match my own breath and—

the sharp click
of oars rotating in their locks,
thunderous enough I could
set my rhythm to that alone,

the rough bark
of the coxswain,
a North Star to follow
all the way home—

the all-encompassing fire burning through my body,
a combustion from the inside out
with no chance of rescue
before my muscles push and pull themselves
to cannibalistic destruction—

the cool bite
of the wind over bare flesh,
a thin layer of spandex nothing
in the face of the howl,

the frozen nip
of the backsplash,
in eyes and ears and—

the warm comfort of the sun,
of unison, of everything
that makes the pain worth it.
Calm and steady;
wild and desperate.

But I stand on the dock
and open my eyes,
and the lake is empty
but for the lily pads.

FRIDA: THE BROKEN COLUMN

You paint yourself with a
crumbling column of a spine,
and I cannot help but think
this is wrong. You,
who stood for yourself
when no one else would; you,
who stood when no one else
said you could; you
have a spine as strong
as the steel bar
that pierced you.

You paint tears down
your cheeks, white like
snowflakes, white like
aspirin, white like
the corset
that embraces your body,
and your mouth may be closed but
in my mind I hear
your cries.

You paint iron nails in your skin
piercing your breasts, your
column, your
cheeks. I could run
my hands down your skin and
pluck dozens, pluck them
like the flowers
absent from the rutted ground
around you.

You paint yourself staring
forward, eyes on me and
shoulders back and
Oh, I think. Oh. But the sky
is so very blue.

Olivia Elle graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Creative Writing in 2020, and she is currently pursuing her MA in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. She published her book TALES OF A NAVY BRAT: AN ANTHOLOGY in 2015, and has since gone on to publish her short stories OBSIDIAN and A DRAGON’S GUIDE TO THE MANY USES OF OVENS in the literary magazine Generic. Her poem THE GAY EXPERIENCE: F FOR FAITH, F FOR– was recently selected as a semi-finalist for the 2021 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award, and subsequently published in ArLiJo. She can usually be found reading, writing, or playing DND.

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