It is autumn. The trees are misers who dole out their sunset
once a year in red envelopes, and a girl
trips a small glass green melody out the window.
It rattles down the street disturbing the decaying leaves.
Like the trees I hoard sunshine.
There is something in me that wants to hold golden glowing things
in its dusty folds just for the pleasure of unwrapping them
some rainy morning when I’ve forgotten they’re there.
It is an afternoon in September and I am rattling down the street
with small glass green marbles of notes
that I tuck carefully in velvet and fetter away someplace they can’t glitter.
When they are finally stumbled upon they will be greedy with the lamplight,
glint in candles or fluorescent bulbs, get so that a star will make them flush.
They keep better than most things.
The air right now would just taste stale in a few years.
It needs to be stored somewhere it can blow off hats.
It is that kind of wind.
It is four o’ clock on an afternoon in September
and I am a greedy old crumble toed miser who cannot tap dance
or jazz pan handle much anymore but I am learning to save only things
that do not get stale in my best cotton handkerchief
before tucking it away in strange and unexpectedly loud places.
Someday I might have reason to move somewhere where autumn does not come
the way it does here
right in the soggy part of the year.
Someday I might have need for these marbles.
Somewhere in Denmark,
a glacier is holding its breath: an inhale
trapped between crags of ice, pressing
against a thin horizontal seam with the desperate insistence
of a wild thing who cannot see the sky
but feels its weight on all sides:
the iceberg’s cheeks bulge with the strength
of its prisoner; a steel-blue mouth puckers—
at its corners, fault lines
inching tendrils along cliff face like ivy
slowly choking a brick wall into silence.
When an ogre of an icicle drops
(jail bars ripped from the cement,
lock rusting into open,
doors breaking off hinges,
the weight of free ripping into the air
like a hit & run)
there is a sigh. A sound
like exhaust pipes,
spilling worn-out air
into a blue,
The weather is not decent:
shoes hooked around one spindly finger,
dirty toes wriggling gleeful
into goblin-glass green, skirts
bunched above scraped knees and
untidy hair tangled in the fingers
of dandelion boys who love like wishes,
into the cracks between blue
sky and white cloud where dreamers blind themselves,
straining for silver.
The weather pays no mind.
She stomps heavy-footed in muddy puddles,
laughs grass-stained delight,
breathes hard against wind chimes:
her forearms are gold glitter,
her hugs paint trees into twinkle.
She eats unwashed strawberries
from a cracked clay dish;
blows soft against upturned faces of dreamers
whose hearts, like thunderclouds,
are a stone full of heavy,
halfway to bursting,
In the sky a yellow sun is melting:
it drips, puddles messy on the gravel, the canopies of maple leaves,
coats the tops of the tall grass,
the silvered water—like cream, rising to the top of buckets of milk,
lifted off with a net and drunk from old jam jars,
milk-moustaches of glimmer & gleam
that flake into shards of sharp sunshine
against the hard edge of a razor & tangle themselves
into copper curls of hair and handfuls of blueberries
spitting their unripe green tartness into lifelines & dripping
off tongues, staining teeth & tongues with purple sour sweetness—
the right way to eat wild blueberries
is crouching: the hum of mosquitoes tickling eardrums,
blueberry bushes stroking calves &
sweat trickling down necks—bruise the lavender-blue skin,
roll it between your fingers until the fruit is navy,
purple, a proper dark cool color, press it between tongue and teeth,
let its meat spill out into your mouth,
roll the intestines around, swirl them like wine,
bite into the skin and let the sour out, stinging;
(Or stuff your mouth with them,
let runty perfect blue spheres run out of your cheeks,
the seam between your lips:
leave your mouth sticky sweet, tasting vaguely
of watery blue.)
Aviva Rabin-Court, Age 15, Grade 10, Hunter College High School, Gold Key