Strands

I learned about the seasons while I learned about you.
First came a fall that felt more like summer; and sweaty,
thigh-rubbing walks to CVS for your allergy medicine.
I liked that the sun made you sneeze, I liked the slant
of your wrists, I liked how different we were. But we weren’t
all that different, were we? Was it cold by the time
we started fighting? I used to think all the leaves
would shift overnight. That I’d wake up to a sea of red
outside my window. You laughed, but were gentle,
when you told me it was gradual. And it was.

Three winters ago, you taught me about evergreens.
It still kills me that I can’t remember the first time you said
I love you. I remember everything else. I took my first
poetry class and wrote about you, a habit I have yet
to shake. We started taking walks at night, holding hands,
so I wouldn’t fall. When I fell I took you down with me.
On our first date we bought toothpaste. We broke up
and I cut off all my hair. When we got back together
you lied and said you liked it short. When we broke
up again I dyed it pink and I just don’t know anymore.

I don’t think the seasons changed as much as we did.
The pink in my hair’s faded and now it’s pale like
the dying leaves. Pale, like our footsteps in the snow,
like the sunlight on your face. I need things
to change. We fell in love in December; this warmth
burns. I don’t care about sunlit walks or girls
to touch in the humid heat of night. It’s you I wear
on my body like a tan line, or a burn or the yellow in my
hair, the shade of shifting leaves.

Maria Llona Garcia is a 24-year-old Peruvian poet and occasional prose writer. She recently graduated with a degree in English from Skidmore College, where she was awarded their section of the Academy of American Poets Prize. She currently lives in her hometown of Lima, Peru, and teaches English while also working as a newsletter editor. This fall she will begin studying for an MFA in Poetry at The New School. Her poetry is previously unpublished.

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