In Western Mass

When you leave the rain starts up again.
Here’s the thing about despair – it just sits there, unblinking.

On the green Chinese rug in the living room.
In its own baby-sized coffin in the parlor.

In the kitchen with a coffee cup, army-green uniform,
watching the snow fall. Snowfall: an empty, quiet word.

A whisper of the things we long ago dreamed on.
Lying awake in a barren crib. Walking around the house,

counting your footsteps in each corner.
The silver purr of the radiator. I think of all the days behind us

rippling into history. In the spare room, lace curtains
at the window, eiderdown on the bed. White weddings.

Rocking chairs. Friends growing old and dying,
babies being born and starting again. Children asking,

What is life? The spinster of an aunt, all of twenty-six,
answering. Privation. Austerity. Loss.

Eliza Browning is a seventeen-year-old high school senior from Connecticut. She is the editor-in-chief of her school literary magazine, Sidetrax, and the founder of the Janus Review, an online publication aimed at promoting diversity in the arts and amplifying the voices of high school and college students. Her work has been recognized by Hollins University and College Xpress.

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