“Ay as from dreams of some old glorious flight”
her cheeks bloom deep with summer
storms. The purple and orange maps
on her thighs omit cities and towns. Instead
they grow as guides to places his hands
have hit. With time, her skin cools and turns
brittle, encased in basalt—a field after a volcanic eruption.
Her hands, clasped together,
are frozen: first in hope, then prayer, and finally
desperation. The words of her litany
come twofold. First, smooth as butter
through the fingers of a child and then back
from his mouth like a razor hidden
in the middle. These days she reads from erasures.
The bulk of the text has disappeared
under black marker until even her spine
is warped into an apology, a redaction of self.
Sometimes his love was defended with cannon fire, sometimes
a bayonet between the ribs. An old hickey becomes a bruise. Both are broken
capillaries. Both, she tells herself, are expressions of love.
*Note: First line written by Evelyn Douglas
Rebecca Alifimoff is a student in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has received Scholastic Art and Writing Medals for her work in prose, poetry, and non-fiction. She was named a 2014 Foyle Young Poet of the Year. Her poetry has appeared in Magma poetry.