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The late breeze takes me back

to those fall mornings

where I, plump-faced and

earnest, like a minnow,

would studiously pack my lunch

just the way I’d been told

and hold my mother’s hand

all the way to school. I’m going

to leave, I warn this unhearing

remnant of myself. Not soon.

But eventually. And then

I’ll walk to school with friends;

I’ll come to live elsewhere.

Imaginary lovers will give way

to real ones as unfamiliar

with the architecture of the body

as I fear I’ll always be.


I don’t know this yet. Aged six,

I’m convinced I’ll grow up

without needing anything

because I’ll take all that I have

lingering in this moment

with me, forever. When I’m

proven wrong, I’ll learn

to snatch the pieces of the past

that stay, to slowly share them

with myself. Together, we’ll wait

for those fragments to reveal

why they stayed behind

and for how long they’ll last.


JOANNA CLEARY (she/her) is an emerging artist and recent graduate of the University of Waterloo currently trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. So far, writing poetry at 2:00 AM seems to have the most appeal. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The /tƐmz/ Review, The Hunger, Gordon Square Review, Every Pigeon, Always Crashing, Apricity Press, and Typehouse Magazine, among others. Follow her on Instagram @joannacleary121.   

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