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middles -- poetry by Elena Ferrari

is it alright to start at the beginning?

kneeling, strands of seaweed slipping

through my teeth, locked in an orange

slice grin. imagine: hair across a pillow,

two heads on a pillow, outlines hunched

and intertwined, knotted, thoughts wound up

and shivering; ragged, jutting creatures ready

to pounce. our creases and curls pressing, choking.

you reached towards me with phantom hands,

asked, have you ever seen a ghost? i wanted to.

we existed perpetually on our toes:

strange and backwards balance.

lips composed over teeth, grins slicing

towards the other in sunlight. so i slit

the rotting cherries in half and pressed them to you,

hold them like a bouquet whose stems have pierced

your abdomen, a stomach, bruised

and bleeding. this, this, this, is all i have,

is what you asked for. you wound sinewy strands

of seaweed tighter and more winding

around my head with reddened hands.

I was terrified–is it cold where you are?

does it hurt? sea salt sweating down,

I was shivering madly in an azure-cast corner,

knocking the wall with the clack of moving

bones. feverish in december–it didn’t make sense.

you hold the candle to me and smile;

I kneel my head against the wall, nearly praying.

you were left (by me) to pull yourself up through fire,

stiffened branches and falling leaves,

as I penciled the detail of the flame.

o how red, scars arise, stretching over skin

of their own volition.

the wound coming after.


Elena Ferrari is a junior at Milton Academy and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her poetry has been recognized regionally and nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and published in Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine and Magus Mabus. When not reading copious amounts of poetry, diving headfirst into physics, and writing just about anything, she can be found annoying her cat and drawing on fogged windows.

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