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On the aching question: Are you her?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Art by Sofia Miller

Tulips: they aren’t my favorite flower but the weeping cherry blossoms are melting in petal-shaped flakes under the tree which only blooms when it snows you see this tree only blooms once a year so I will always love it more because I cannot have it but tulips I can have and my two lips have touched more than two other pairs but only two that mattered and our lips are red or pink or in his case mottled under an ink-filled sky and bruised with starlight but that isn't the point because these twolips are yellow and bowing slightly from their ovular shells like that yellow sky two nights ago tinged in a shade of pink which flushes when you let her go and I am not “her” but I’m telling you when I ran under that longing-soft sky that time let go of me and I know all roads must end let me say that

when time isn’t glazing your senses there is no end or beginning and yes that’s impossible but The Queen of Hearts once said she believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast and when I was in seventh grade I dressed up as her for Halloween but a man gave everyone except me candy because “you gave me hell twenty years ago” and I have wondered ever since then whether another Queen of Hearts stole his right from his chest and how savagely she must have mangled it if he's still holding that grudge against a twelve year old girl who doesn’t understand yet how fragile a heart can be and maybe he was right to withhold his candy because I’ve broken a few hearts since then including my own but I wonder if that queen still has his and it’s funny the things we remember inked onto the vertebrae of our spines so we can only see them in the mirror as we shed our clothes

and somewhere on my spine is a scene from the movie I loved when I was shorter than my mother’s waist but all I remember is a darkened room where rouge curtains draped like paint dripping off roses painted red and full of blurring ballerinas all wrapped in paper crane tutus while they contorted like melting plastic cloying onto the prince’s velvet suit as he danced through their swaying hips in search of “her” and I don’t remember who “she” was but there is always a “her” in these fairytales and the ballerinas spun around him like wisps of cotton candy that melted into my ancient nine year-old eyes and I don’t remember if he found “her” but what happens to the girls that aren’t “her”?

They take a wrenching bow as the rouge curtains fall and dance off into rain-soaked streets while moon droplets lick their dewy tulle skirts and their ribboned dance slippers are shaded bottle green under street lamps but those skirts aren’t made for running and little by little they slip from glass waists like stars falling into petals on cobblestone while their slippers sprout roots in the asphalt pulling the tullelips up so they can reach the sun with their rooted tendrils, rooted the way that a girl who isn’t “her” will never be and maybe that isn’t something to mourn because then they can keep running under yellow and pink skies blushing as their lungs spring up and down in their chests; where impossible things bubble from their heels like wine and even time isn’t brave enough to caress them.

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22 apr 2020


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