Ellen Hill


Dear John,

I have found another lover.

He brings me bouquets of cauliflower and calls me

Caterpillar like I’m lovely.

Atlas to my world (he would carry my

mirrors anywhere).

And I’m not sure if he makes me feel

safe, or if I’m caged inside his oyster:

nacreous until I stumble

from his shell, coated

in chaste kisses on my cheeks.

I have found another lover.

Dear John,

I was born a liar.

There are no Caterpillars, and

I am safe in your arms.

You have stung me, a wasp at the knee,

and until the swelling goes down

the only cure is to pick dead dandelions,

you and me,

you pick them and put them

in my gypsum hand.

Dear John,

I never liked the ocean

but the salt on your mouth,

on my mouth-

scratch me until I bleed sea-

And if you cup your hand over my ear

I can hear waves.

Dear John,

I never liked the ocean

but give me each of your fingers

and I will taste sand and sweat

for days.