A mini series of melodramatic villanelles

Photo by Sydney Shaffer

By Sydney Shaffer

space exploration

So I fall into continents and cars

I stretch miles to the moon

You you you are my bright blue star

This trip to magic is by far

the faint echo of my June swoon

falling into continents and cars

I want to write myself into your memoir

and serve our guests with silver spoons

You you you are my bright blue star

Let me backtrack, not go as far to say

I want to have a wedding in the heat of June

and fall into continents and cars 

For now I take a crowbar 

to the depths of my immune

heart, I I I will be a peach star

I sip spiked lemonade from a mason jar

and wait till noon

to fall into continents and cars

I I I will be a peach star

everywhere you go, you take yourself

“Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which fits best and is more becoming?” 

-Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Brooklyn is calling, telling me to come home. 

I cry until my eyeballs fall out. 

Here I am, raising a family in Rome.

My garden is filled with green gnomes.

I have not a single doubt! – (but)

Brooklyn is calling, telling me to come home.

My unborn child has a double X chromosome,

So I think of a name for my baby – (Scout!)

Here I am, raising a family in Rome.

I am on a tour into the Catacombs

damp and dark, my face begins to pout –

Brooklyn is calling, telling me to come home.

Maybe if I had a working phone

I would find a way to loudly shout – yet

Here I am, raising a family in Rome.

I am stuck under a dome 

surrounded by a crowd.

Brooklyn is calling, telling me to come home- (but)

Here I am, raising a family in Rome.

to be so lonely 

I won’t wear shoes to my wedding,

want my feet to feel the Earth’s wet dirt.

With each passing day I keep forgetting,

that one day I might not believe in heaven.

The rocks don’t hurt 

so I won’t wear shoes to my wedding.

I envy the idea of mending, of sewing

bodies together – stuck by threads of a shirt. 

With each passing day I keep forgetting

that one day I will be sweating 

in the streets of Paris – feet burnt 

yet I still won’t wear shoes to my wedding.

I sew together pink fabric, dressing

up – in my new flushed tulle skirt. 

With each passing day I keep forgetting

that one day I was just seven, 

eating french fries for dessert. 

I won’t wear shoes to my wedding 

with each day I just keep forgetting everything.

watch me become me

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. 

-Audre Lorde

The magicalness of being the same.

I accept all the stones they’ll throw,

no longer giving into their shame.

I write my name into an embroidery frame,

just to look in the mirror and see my cheeks glow.

The magicalness of being the same.

I am so glad I came 

out. Now as open and free as a winter meadow 

and no longer giving into their shame.

I stop trying to explain 

myself to anyone and so I

realize the magicalness of being the same.

Now comes the part that I claim! 

What so long has run away from me, although slow: 

I am no longer giving into their shame. 

I have waited so long and became 

me, the girl who still enjoys walks in the snow –

just with the magicalness of being the same 

and no longer giving into their shame.

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