a poetry e-zine










Laurel Aquadro

Wedding Orchid

I killed the wedding orchid
the one that sat at the center of our table
amid the forks and placecards and cameras.
Because you'd already deployed,
I read the instruction manual, which said
water every 10 days and
place in indirect sunlight.

I do not know how to tell
direct from indirect
when it comes to sunlight,
so I placed it on the windowsill
and hoped for the best.
It died despite my protests,
despite my care the leaves shriveled,
yellowed, and fell, and I tried
with all my poetic meaning,
all my metaphorical leanings,
not to attach symbolism
to every plummeting leaf
or to every phone call from you
that a satellite drops from the sky,
your voice interrupted by
3-5 minutes of silence until
the phones reconnect.
As the orchid leaves decay
in our backyard compost pile,
left to decompose with weeded mint,
carrot peels, and organic ginger,
I hear your voice through satellites
telling me of weather in Kandahar,
and a boy who brought you tea,
and I know,
for this moment,
that you are alive and breathing,
and I vow to never again
trust omens
delivered by plants.


at first I learned you and love
by dropping a stone into a bucket
for each new face you revealed
a stone for handwriting on a birthday card
a stone for a blue shirt, for a song sung
for your favorite pillow you let me steal
I collected these ways you love me
expecting the point at which
the bucket would fill
and be too much for me to carry
when a cityview kiss would mean
a love complete
when fingers wrapped around a vase
full of freshly picked black-eyed
susans would mean no more goodbye
when we would know what we thought we should know
now, with bucket overflowing,
I carry these stones to the edge of a lake
and skip them in their nakedness
across the top of the water
watch them jump twice then fall
until the bucket is empty
I know you as nothing
but a lover of this kind,
of the overflowing knowingness
that asks to be sunk in a lake
and I don’t know what it means
that I am content to live with you now
in this love
and in this unknowing

In Cadence

I think they told me you were sick
because cancer would scare a fourth grader
and on tuesdays after piano lessons we drove to visiting hours
I sat in the backseat with this week’s song in my head
and tried to hum a measure for every time
a road sign passed my window.
From your fourth floor window
I could see the Manhattan skyline
the ups and downs of buildings
and how they tapped against the clouds
I imagined us dancing across them
because from across the river and through the blinds
stepping from roof to roof seemed possible.
I remember the sound of nurse shoes stepping on hospital floors
and the dripping IVs like metronomes
keeping tabs on the first page of Clair de Lune
and instead of saying goodbye to you
I sat quietly in the corner
and practiced each measure over
and over in my head.


Originally from Massachusetts, Laurel Aquadro majored in English at Cornell with a concentration in Creative Writing. As an undergrad, she completed two poetry portfolios, and spent a summer taking poetry courses in Rome. She published eight poems in Cornell literary magazines and reads at various readings throughout campus. Since graduating, she has taught English in NYC for eight years, and continued writing, taking workshops at Writers Studio, Poets House, and the Unterberg Poetry Center.


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