Kelli Lage

When you looked into your rearview window
did you imagine me waving? Did this town lay thread barren in your heart,
tattering a little more with the touch of each winter?
Did you unravel at the sight of my wedding dress?
Have you stopped skirting around the pulses in your lover’s fingertips?

In another lifetime, we take a walk in our old age
meeting in the crisp chill that flushes out fall with winter,
reminiscing days of a flame pinched out.
We can argue about whose touch brought midnight.
My hands always meant to intertwine with another
but at one time, our palms were the same sickly shade of flowering parsnips
so we thought that meant they fit.
Even though my skin has restored to its natural olives and pinks
I still remember you, not afraid to touch venomous veins.
This letter is non-toxic, but I wouldn’t recommend swishing it around in your mouth.
Yesteryears taste bitter when downed in the wrong type of sunlight.

In this life, when that chill slithers around your neck
remember that I walked away with bloodied hands.
It took me years to wash them. Yet, they still recall
holding the box your grandmother gave you, seasick at how it brimmed over with demons,
the swing set chains nipping at my skin, pretending we were the only ones made up of 2 a.m.,
and the shades of brown within laced-up leather; bracelets we wore like comfort blankets.

So, when I step into the shower too soon,
the flood touched by ice reminds me of a ghost of myself, who saw love in your bones.
They seem like a folktale to me now, their story carried away by the summer winds of 2014.
No matter where they landed, I’m thankful they had each other to claw through the mud with.

Kelli Lage is earning her degree in secondary English education and works as a substitute teacher. She is a poetry reader for Bracken Magazine. Lage's work has appeared in The Lumiere Review, Welter Journal, Watershed Review, and elsewhere. Website: