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Sunlight Through the Center Street Window | Ruth Towne

You said, this is a girl’s apartment—most days, plaits of sunshine

swayed on the pressed and white shoulders of our walls,

and brushed three pair of jade succulents poised

like pearl-strings against a sun-starched collarbone.

 

Beside the sofa, light tangled the split ends of tea

candles where shine feathered at night. We sat

in the sun on the bamboo (I said, wicker) couch.

Now, the seat seems the color of honey, hardening

 

and dimming brunette. But it was only the usual milky cushion

turning the usual cream when warmed by the light.

And light combed the couch in our living room all day,

kept smoothing it down strand after strand.

 

When you swept, you said, hair—hair, everywhere. And rain

did strike our windows. The sunlight accounted for only half

the story. Evenings, you took down the painting and its frame,

exchanged it for the dartboard, while the stovetop burned

 

with the rice. But even on those evenings, we sensed sunlight

in the bronze of warm apple cider. One night, you dreamed

you had harvested your gilded hair (you said, I threshed

it smooth like straw), and passed it to the landlord with the rent.

 

Then a week passed. We began to uproot ourselves, our plants,

collecting bedframes and blankets. When we gathered

our belongings, you realized we couldn’t reap that sunlight.

And in the end, we painted the white walls goldenrod.

 

Ruth Towne is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. Her poetry has appeared in Grim & Gilded, Plainsongs Poetry Magazine, New Feathers Anthology, The Decadent Review, Inlandia Literary Journal, and Beyond Words Literary Magazine. She has forthcoming publications in Mantis Poetry Journal. Her poem "So the Sadness Could Not Hurt" received The Orchards Poetry Journal’s second-place Grantchester Award.

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