Bury the Years

I’m no longer a child,
but a giggling ghost
of innocence
pulls on a frayed string,
urging me to pick up
an unserviceable tin can,
rusted and abandoned.

I’m no longer a child,
but a withering bunny
is tucked sleeplessly
between my arm and chest,
longing for the company
of the velveteen rabbit
and Edward Tulane.

I’m no longer a child,
but a moss-covered moment
from fourteen years ago
clings to the morning air,
filling abandoned breezes
with forest-scraped knees
and missing front teeth.

I want to bury the years.
A child greets the grave.
She brings us lilacs and dirt.

Artificial Warmth

The entirety of my summer was the dead of the bleakest winter with its pursuing frigidness and bitter touch but my cherry red popsicle still melted solemnly down the length of my ring finger in the scorching air, and the streetlight protecting the bench I carved my initials in three years ago is sputtering to stay awake now, although I used to not need the artificial light which is why the sun is simply the moon covered in luminescent snow.

I freeze in the heat while the previously hallowed lakes and pools fill with blue swallows of light, unsure of their origin or reality, fixated on the deepest collections of pebbles and moments that I let slip and sink into the sifting cradle of dirt and longing, and it all sways in the undercurrent of time, drowning between flickers of streetlights or perhaps falsified sunlight that cannot be pure, given the frosty breath clouding with every exhale.

Elise Steele is a senior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She studies English and Communications. She has been published in UTC’s Sequoya Review and Z Publishing’s Tennessee’s Best Emerging Poets 2019. Elise aspires to continue writing, wherever her career path may take her.