Funeral Orations

The strawberry rots that season,
all seeds and no flesh, shrinking into
itself like something unholy. You
brush this off because it is ordinary,
mundane, because you are not bitten
and bitter in your grief. This, you tell
me at the bar, eyes doubloon-sharp,
pina colada in hand. The piano riff
doesn’t yet remind me of sea glass
and diaphanous silk.

I swipe right in my Manhattan
apartment the way one might scrawl
Shakespeare’s 18th sonnet on a weary
alley wall, that is to say, furtively,
apathetically. Because it is a winter
colder than whispered ashes, and
the snow knocks too often, and the
birds trill too early in major key, and
the honeyed almonds taste too much
of strawberries. I turn around and

condense my words with a trembling
alchemy. I say only, I prefer margaritas.
So I go home, call it fever dream, flotsam
of unfinished Cervantes novel. Anything
but this love story you are here to write.
And yet the snow knocks again, rings the
doorbell in sprezzatura. The birds gorge
themselves on voicemails before growing
talons-deep in promise. Here is another fever
dream where I down pina colada and barrel
toward spring light.

Vivien Song is a high school junior from Pleasanton, California. When she’s not cramming for calculus, you can find her bullet journaling in a coffee shop. She hopes you’ve had a great day so far.

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