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  • Lily

    Nithya Swaminathan

     

    She smiles up at me

    A peach stone

    warm brown, gleaming

    Sticky juice pooled in her dimples

    Begging to be licked clean

     

    Her thumb wedges

    against a tapioca pearl tooth

    Wiggling north and south and too far south, and

    Ouch!

    One pops right out

    Crackling against the asphalt like rock candy

    Her grin grows wider and wider

    to the river rhythm of blood down her chin

    It’s a peculiar sight,

    Her canyon smile stained red

    Giggling

    Happy in pain’s portrait

     

    I can’t control Lily

    Each ribbon looped around her wrist frays

    Coarse twine around her ankles snaps

    like elastic

     

    She lives like the wind

    Flowing, rapid, running and running

    Falling down, carried up

    My feet are stagnant

    Tethered to the playground

    Leaning into her draft

    She’s the wind

    Breathless, alive

     

    I feel her howls inside my bones

    Soundless, but I understand

    Her eyes are dewy like the hills

    Blinking at my hollow words, my

    haphazard spanish

    I feel her press against my side

    ¡Ven conmigo! She flits away

    I spin and spin, a gyroscope

    But she’s gone

    Rustling with a million oak leaves

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