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  You could have a big dipper   

For Snail by Leandra Lee

steep your sorrows in lavender.

strain the buds that float in the lilac liquid

and watch the sadness that your body expels flow

through the fine mesh.

hold yourself at night because no one else will.

your eyes grow heavy with the color of chamomile

and violets;

like a children’s singsong love poem.

but you are no longer a child.

grown too soon,

shoving yourself against the mountainside.

your dry, pink skin flakes off

as you leave pieces of yourself

across the piedmont

where you raised yourself.

you grew out of the fig seeds

that fell into the backyard

before the tree was even planted.

you watered yourself,

steeped in tubs,

scalding water

so you could feel something.

you reached out

and i was not there

and my lungs filled with table salt,

drowning on my own.

you woke up with pruned fingers

because i had stayed in the water all night.

the clock on your bedroom wall

smells like lemons

and the dried petals that you pressed

into your journal

are scattered all over the house.

the cobwebs have citrus seeds

and the spiders mistake them for flies

because they, too,

are starving.

you hold your stress in the neck

use the new-fallen snow of your

new home as an ice pack,

take away your pain and your childhood.

playlist after playlist,

lyric tumbling over lyric,

you expel life from your lips.

you try, desperately,

to release your body from

beneath the thumb

that holds your shell.

the sun beats down and melts the snow,

carries you on a wave

of fresh water

from the peaks to my coast.

i hold you

and we wrap our pinkies together;

brackish water.


your stomach growls

and we pick a lemon,

our ankles cracking as we

reach upward, toward the leaves.

the acid curdles

the buttermilk in your tummy,

and you are gone.

farther away again,

you yell out for anyone;

for me.

your world is ice

and mine is water;

one element in different stages

and i cannot stand to see you melt.

steep your sorrows in lavender,

pour me a cup.

i don’t like honey,

but i need the bees’ nectar

to sweeten the lies i tell you.

“it gets easier”

“you are not alone”

of course i am here

but we are all alone.

let me feed you honey-soaked lies

for a while longer

until you can make up your own

and wash them down with PBR in your dorm room.

cinder block walls


and fermentation

a pairing for the ages.

your shell sprouts leaves

and seeps citrus oil,

energizing and longing,

and yet you stay in bed.

we will meet in the middle for high holidays

and scream over the radio,

windows ajar despite the weather,

our bodies chapped and so similar but so different.

you will call me in tears,

straining the salt from your body,

and i will feel the salt on my skin

from miles and miles and miles away.

but then our salty sadness

will flavor our dinner,

contrast with the pancakes with m&ms,

melted butter atop carbs for comfort.

our therapists will say

we’re fine, and we will

choke down our pills

with milk, ice floating in the glass.

on the morning of your first class,

your coffee will go cold

and you will text me

“evian spelled backwards is naïve.”


Leandra Lee is a prose and poetry writer based out of North Carolina, USA. She spends Sundays trying not to spiral into existential dread, and lives with her cat-- binx--, fish-- Mulaney--, and bearded dragon-- Cheeto--. This is her third publication. Twitter: @DiscountDelRey

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