Nostalgia (One Month Premature)                                       by Michaela Brown

The broken sidewalk that tentacles
from Love Library looks the same
as it always does. It is spring 
and life is supposed to feel new
but the only salient changes are purple
flowers on the trees beside the walk,
gestating with varying urgencies.
One is in full bloom, one is just beginning 
to open itself, one is barely budding.
They are the Three Bears and I
their Goldilocks—except nothing
at all feels just right.
When my tires veer onto 14th Street 
I remind myself—let myself be reminded
my days on this road are numbered.
The man on the radio sings a dirge
about “the youth I used to know” and
I heave and hold the steering wheel 
until my eyes blur. I pass Adams Street
where my friend Brennen lives
and consider pulling a uey just to say 
I like your shirt and do you want to
get sushi soon? and I miss you, even
though he hasn’t gone anywhere yet. 
Was there a time I didn’t view this graying 
city with love? I’m certain there were
many. Four weeks to go and everything
is rose colored. I focus on the road,
cratered as ever. Tomorrow and
tomorrow, I will revisit the trees
to see how they’ve grown, ignoring
the turn of the calendar, of my own
spotting skin. In twenty-five days, I will
throw my hat. Mourn the wasted moments.
Hail the things we did. The final tree
will have bloomed by then. 

Currently based in Vigo, Spain, Michaela Brown is an EFL teacher and freelance writer. She is the recipient of the 2020 Marjorie Stover Short Story Award and has previously been published in Laurus Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @mikienbrown

Guest editor Denise Low, MFA & Ph.D., was Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09. She won the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Award for Shadow Light. Other books are Wing (Red Mountain), Casino Bestiary (Spartan), and The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press), a Hefner Heitz Award finalist. At Haskell Indian Nations University she founded the creative writing program. She is a contributing editor to Essay Daily’s Midwessay project.


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