Two Poems by Elena Rielinger


Someday I hope to make

enough money

so I can afford

pretentiously over-priced organic produce

though I’m not entirely sure

if there’s a palpable difference

between the glossy gleam of an apple’s

red rose-threaded skin

entirely free from insecticides

and that of the deceiving fruit which

destroyed the girl with ebony hair

and complexion akin to snow.

I’ve consumed plenty of

artificial flavors, preservatives, GMOs,

which in retrospect seems to detract

from my health, as if combined it could create

a sort of vulgar sodium-based solution

supersaturated into a thick, pussy liquid.

In spite of this I am alive

…and yet again I am purchasing apples…

I don’t know if my choice of produce has a point,

but until I do I remain satisfied with my blunt decisions.


Hello, Unjustifiable Feelings of Trepidation, Fear, and Guilt.

You linger in my doorway

like unwept tears

in sculpted wax eyes,

and you always arrive at the most

inopportune times.

Like when I’m trying to scan these apples

at the self-serve checkout

and the mechanical voice shrieks:

“Please wait

Help is on the way”

to both myself and the growing line.

Suddenly I’m as exposed as poor Eve

misinformed by the serpent,

believing something so obviously deceiving

and taking the fatal bite into the forbidden fruit,

never even having heard of the term “All natural!”


Screw buying organic fruit.

I’ll plant my own tree.


Carelessness and Coffee Cups

At the corner of a street,

a cup of coffee sat beside

a bench at the bus stop

disposable cup

half empty


A pair of black, plastic framed glasses,

/glasses, not two lenses/

were swiped off the bridge of a man’s nose

and held in his hand as he quietly mourned

his forgotten caffeine in his rush

onto the early arriving bus.

In spite of its owner’s regret,

the lukewarm drink still sat, complemented by cream,

sweet cream, maybe half-and-half, or

frothy milk with the texture of clouds,

an ethereal match for the nutty bitterness

of the dark roasted coffee beans because

opposites attract and attach

and now it’s no longer black coffee

and the purest of white milk,

but a latte, cappuccino macchiato, or

some other exotic sounding name.

A couple came to the corner

/couple, not two individual persons/

and in their hurry to catch the next bus,

knocked over the cup of coffee beside

the bench at the bus stop

disposable cup



The beverage gravitates to the cracks in the pavement,

blends with the mud in the grass.

It’s no longer coffee with cream,

but a mess to be washed away

by the oncoming storm.


Elena Rielinger is currently a senior attending North Royalton High School near Cleveland, Ohio. Her poem “when a certain song plays” has been published in The Noisy Island and her poem “For Orlando: 6-12-16” is forthcoming in Sprout Magazine.

Visual Art by Ben Cruz

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