Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

Featured Author

Silver Lining

(noun) a consoling or hopeful prospect.

Mom says my heart’s got a silver lining,
Says God sewed it together herself and
Stitched in so much love that the sadness wouldn’t fit.
Hope is the thing
That fills my heart up, that
Shines like aluminum foil, uncrumpled and smooth.

Silver: (noun) sweetness of my soul;
(adj.) color of rain caught in the Big Dipper.

For Christmas last year, Mom bought Dad
New bedsheets and comforter made
With feathers.
In my head, Dad rips the blanket open
At the seams and the feathers fly out,
A tornado of down
Floating up to the ceiling.

At nighttime, Dad says, God drapes purple velvet
Over the earth and we call it the night sky
Then God pokes holes in the fabric
And we call them the stars.
He puts away the fairy book on my shelf;
I wait for Mom to pick me up.

On nights when Mom drives me home,
The moon follows me in the backseat
And when I fall asleep with my check pressed 
Against the cold window, I dream
About God disconnecting the constellations
And erasing Orion’s belt,
Leaving the moon a bright circle
In a very long darkness.

Lining: (verb) bringing warmth;
(noun) taste of sugar in my stomach and pink frosting on my lips.

Mom tucks me in and gives me a hug,
Leaving me warm with the sound of breath against my skin
But after she shuts the door tight, I sneak out
Across the floorboards to look out the window.
I stare at the distance, unfocusing my eyes
On blurry spots in the sky I let slide out
from themselves and over one another —
Swirling smudges of light.

I gather myself like a cloud,
Water droplets in my inner sky gleaming
Silver at the lining.

bike locks

the birds are quieter now
and a sign on the road says PASS WITH CARE – 
what more is there
for me to care for?

pieces of the moon sink to earth
the floor slips out from under me
God turns off the gravity and the stars disappear
like a house falling asleep

strange how grief is like a bruise that appears
from nowhere – or not from no where, but a somewhere
I don’t know, lost in this in-between

you felt so safe, you didn’t own bike locks
didn’t clench your keys inside your fist
or make sure to shut the front door tight behind you
your sidewalks were all well-lit

in my dark room with the blinds drawn shut
in your absence I become the insatiable ocean
swallowing everything that enters it
remaining hungry for more
wanting for nothing, and too much

gifted with an endless supply of microwavable emotion
I fit my sadness into the boxes and check them one by one
pack them in the attic, never to be seen

this space and time between us is the closest thing to kindness
the universe could give me
what could kindness look like, now, in the aftermath of you?

when you left you took a piece of me
with you, so I think of you again and again until it feels
like a trail of bike locks, clicking shut behind me

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