2nd March 2021
Words by Isabelle Bouvier · Artwork by Emma W.
Each poem in this trio was written at a different point in quarantine 2020: July, September, and December, respectively. I wrote them separately, then realized that together, they paint a broader picture of the shifts in my connection with others, myself, and time. I have spent these months watching the world outside my window change and grow while I have felt stuck living in the same day over and over. Yet these poems show different stages of feeling, engagement, and understanding; that I have also been growing despite myself, for better or for worse.
She & I walked and walked,
our words as easy and steady as our footfalls--
interlaced, painting the fields.
I stole a sprig from the forsythia
and in the weeks between us I have
watched it die slowly (suddenly)
on my desk.
We were neither of us real,
just kids licking our last taste of freedom.
My body wordlessly evaporated before you.
When this is over meet me where the lilacs grow,
hold me tight so I can let you go.
Our feet are wrenched from the earth - scattering -
I tumble in the wind beside a golden leaf and ask them,
How do you not get motion sickness?
I could ask the same of you, they reply, and dissolve into dust.
I hope I fly high enough to see the cities below me
and of course as I think that, my toes catch flame.
It’s thrilling, at first, until I look down and recognize nothing.
I am afraid, my heart says, and the moon smiles.
I am alone, I am nowhere.
The moon becomes unbearably beautiful against the naked trees
but I’ve forgotten how to cry.
Worlds below, flower buds stretch their arms toward me
Each evening I light candles and knit
years of green yarn into a scarf (rectangles
are the only shapes I know anymore)
Each night the cat claws the stitches
apart, wildflower petals dripping
from his teeth
Each morning I wind the yarn into
a neat ball, ready to begin the scarf
again with the setting sun
Every day until the cat is
gone, I guess
Isabelle Bouvier lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and is a senior at Amherst Regional High School. She attended Juniper Institute for Young Writers in 2018 and 2020 and has written short plays performed by the Amherst Regional High School Theater Department. She also studies classical voice and loves to perform.
Emma W. lives in Toronto. The first print issue of her zine @pinkrabbitfootdiary will be available soon.