You hold a book in your hands:
oven-baked pages. home-stitched spine.
handwritten print. You daft songbird,
if you didn’t know a sharp confession
when you held it, played it yourself,
you didn’t deserve one anyway.
The door opens. There’s a quartet
on my back porch in Maine in March.
One violin croons you are a catch, Miss
while another sends me bad poems
via text message. You are 90 miles away,
and for a moment I hope you hear me
harmonize with another man’s strings,
you asinine stripling. My knees grow cold
as the first violin wakes, bones sharp in my bed.
The temperature drops. I open my eyes
and discover his neck is not yours
though the night had told me so.
Imagine my heartbreak — an arpeggio
sang for me, forever ago. The door opens.
I am seventeen and you’re singing my name,
so apropos. The temperature drops.
I find another lover and sing to him
the futile songs you played for me.
In the middle of the night I wake
spewing hymns and hoping you feel them,
though I tell my friends your existence is trivial.
In another reality I come to you pure as Eden
with a cross around my neck. You think of me
as a pretty enough addition to your Christian
mother’s dining room table. She pairs me
with her finest china and tells you I remind her
of Mary: immaculate. decorative. The temperature
rises when my mouth opens. The door closes.
Your voice becomes
all my strings
Emma Bovill is a New England goddess of coffee, cat noises, bagel egg sandwiches, 90’s and 00’s r&b, Parks and Recreation references, and you know, girl stuff. She curated the poetry reading Bring Your Own Poems in Southern NH for two years and has been published by Wicked Banshee Press. She writes poems a lot but drinks coffee more.
Natalie Chyi is an 18-year-old from Hong Kong who has recently moved to London, where she will be studying law for the next three years. She started photography to capture moments and pretty things/people/light/scenes as she sees them, and that idea is what continues to fuel all of her work. Find more of her work on nataliechyi.com, Facebook, or Tumblr.