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The Sad Side of Spring

by Emily Kendal Frey
Illustration by Kelly Belter

The Sad Side of Spring

Emily Kendal Frey
81 Snaps
Next to the ocean I know
I am dying
Early this morning
The adjoining wall of our dreams
Collapsed
When I drive through
A forest I don’t stop
Come back to the city
Smeared and nothing
Gets it off
I don’t intend 
To know who I am
Ocean, pulsing white pith
Don’t be sad
If someone dies
They saw it coming
At least a beat before you did

//

No tether to my bloom
The root hung
I did not know
Who I was
I escaped the smallest
Opening, an octopus
Squeezing her body through

//

They put barbed wire
Around tents under the freeway
The city is
Deciding where people can live
I used to pick you up from work
Eight miles north
I never went in
Coffee spilled on my lap
I lived in my
Hope, it flowed
Through my body
On the roads I took
A giant ugly stain

//

Power beats its drug
In the glass organs
Of those
Who claim power
Someone put god
In those camellias
People love you
They can’t help it
No longer does the 
Vibrating clit of anger 
Get me off
My head is tight with mystery
Not yet exploded
We bought sausages
Burned them
To a good taste
I forgot my swimsuit
Walked down to the ocean
Past a pile of dead bees


//


Becoming a cloud means more
Available vastness
Growing up is not the same
As waking up
I used to live
In a place that hurt
Mostly because
Of the trees I was wedged between
I’ve loved a few
People who refused to exercise
The human condition
They sat inside the cave
Near the opening
With drying fur
Never dry


//


I cut a star
From the moon’s
Middle, made a life
Bigger than my
Inherited fear
Safeway and stinging nettles
Last kid
Left in the parking lot
Hurt tomorrow with my grip
On infinity, picked
Flowers from dents 
Flung them
Down


//


In the grief circle
I decorate a box
With the cosmos
When it falls open
Oh I say
Forgive me
The woman across from me
Has eyes so kind I’m almost
Angry, god is either
Inside or outside
This room
No one chose what
They came with
Now we sit and pretend
To let it go


//


I am late to my life
Why is the neighborhood
Still alive with exes
Our coping mechanisms
Are alienating us from the planet
Capes of ash
Warming an ancient fire
Send an alert
I’ve revised several of my stances
Dreamed mushrooms grew
On a past life
I cut them in pieces, ate
Technology invented nostalgia
Sepia dreams with soundtracks
Now hats can’t be worn
Without irony
I’m wasting a lot of good
Sorrow on this relationship


//


Everyone wants to love you
So when no one does 
Touch your toes 
Taco Bell a mirage 
In the city’s embroidery
I scratched your back like 
It was 1970
Sibling love 
Splashed on the oven range 


//


It’s more fun to have
A hot and boisterous partner
Though we all fiddle
With wound security
Scratch the top off and get
Back in after the lilacs or whatever
Are done blooming

//

I name you Yellow Heart
Mist hangs over the river 
My uncle died suddenly 
The trees are as beautiful as they can be 
I drive with
A wish 
To float gently over the center line 


//


I don’t have to acknowledge
Your vest or your choice
Of beverage, this is the day
I eliminate desire from my 
To do list
Buying a pregnancy test
For a friend, I saw your brother
A hilarious charade ensued
You know how it ends
Both of us in our beds
Trying to remember the color
Of each other’s hair




This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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