Visual art by Luke Sherman.
I draw from edges of the foreign, full of uncertain creatures teased by the mouth. Ten minutes ago he came back, abrupt and territorial. He only pays visit once a year. To wars, towards, in two words he whispers without saying a word those two words. A little closer he gets each time, and that’s what counts. He can count well, but it is different than the impersonal.
You could tell it in straight numbers, but I count it in cups of tea that have kept my hands warm and mountains I’ve passed, including the where I hide. It happened in the glance of approval at a successful pirouette. It happened when my hands were covered in black dust and the person on the other side of the counter doubted me the entire time as I said, “could you please give me ones in a larger size?”
I waved hello before it passed when I was deep under a thin shirt. It was inevitable that he would appear again. He caresses my ear in the way it would count when I was younger, but this time it is sensual. I’m teased by what it all should be and is. Happy birthday.[box]Maddie Marlow is a senior Dance Major at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Her prose poem, Larger Sizes, won first prize in the Parallax Non-Major Writing Contest.[/box]