Remembering Lakes

By Madelyn Biven

It’s beautiful chopped.


Your skin when we met was lettuce green,

cabbage white.  Everything we ate, we became. 

I always believed sun thirsted for your

hazel, that’s why I lit candles close to

you before day woke up, to see your hair

drop into your mouth.  To open your buds

in the dark.  We placed small fires everywhere

and watched the world stain.  You saw gold bands in

my irises like ropes of daylight in

winter soil.  As you studied their curves,

clouds fell into your eyes.


Autumn spun us into tangled spines and

it was November when I said: I feel

wax and ocean at once.  Then I found sounds

everywhere— soft vowels made me stare at

you, see you in neon colors, see you

after school.  When we lived in North Carolina

I ate you more than anything else.  Your

sweat tasted like afternoon.  Your breath like

skim milk or nettle tea.  I had a secret

spill of eating you all in one bite.  You

drank me like water.  Blur and epiphany

in swaggered buzz across the ceiling in

upward diagonals.  I flower pressed

you between my bones and my heat.  I let

you wilt, and fall out of me.


I wanted to explode so I shattered

into a kaleidoscope.  You saw my

fragments as parts to put together to

design a bridge, a root, a sand castle,

symmetry, or a flower with black seeds.

You found sanctuary in me because

like thunder, I sang about wetness.  That

is what you were eager for—pouring.

This is why I love you and spoons.


And sometimes I need to tell you I’m wrapped

up in it, kind of spun out on it, kind

of sucked into it, mouthing it, crowning it,

making magic smoke with it.


But instead I scribe in loops on art

paper taped to my wall: spill is everywhere.

When I write, gold embers sink into my

hands.  And I never thought to ask– those bands?

Are they dust or sunset?


Every time I trace the letters with my

tongue, the words turn into clouds.


Photo by David Wiederholt