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ADELAIDE Independent Bimonthly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Bimensal, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 




 

 



 

 

 

 

 

SACRIFICE
By Georgia Eugenides

 

 

 

 

THE SUMMER I NEVER HAD

in the morning
i search for myself everywhere,
under ivory sheets that smell of cinnamon, between porcelain jars
on the highest kitchen shelf and among blue, crossed out
poems in my notebook

i wonder if the things i said to you
on that lofty balcony last September
were more like my morning coffee or the atmosphere;
if they washed swiftly through your teeth
or if they seeped into your skin to be mused over for an eternity

when we speak,
i worry that my tongue
will become a cigarette—
my blasé words the evaporating smoke

in the afternoon,
you search for yourself everywhere,
under the leather seats on your daffodil-tinted school bus,
between your constellation freckles and
among the tangled wildflowers sprouting from your beating chest

you wonder if the things you said to me
on windswept city streets
were more like your orange blossom tea or the sidewalk in front of my house;
if they filled my veins with the tired silence
or if they felt the slap of my bare feet as i shot home before twelve

when we speak,
you worry that your words
will become the homesick tide—
pulled away from our lukewarm shore
existing,
and never existing

 

 

 

 

 

 

SACRIFICE

at the base of the chair lift, you refused to ride,
(whispering, “i’m scared of heights,”into the folds of my ritzy sweater)
and when we were together,
we kept our feet firmly on the ground.

i wrote your name at the top of a ferris wheel in a
pink arrow heart
as you stood on the frozen grass,
and stared at your shoes like they were your favorite song.

on the sidewalks of foreign streets, i spied a fleeting smile
as you admitted that you didn’t want us to be temporary—
that you didn't want to us fizzle out
like summer turning into fall.

we couldn’t take the stairs and we couldn't doze on my brownstone roof;
i realized that sacrifice was necessary for perseverance and 
when you thought you would fall,
i refrained from reaching for the sky.

you spoke to me less and less
for three whole years,
and i began to worry that i made you as queasy
as balconies did.

i wonder if you ever glimpse my ghost between
the coffee stained pages of our old letters, 
but i beam as i sit on my fire escape
thirty-two stories up
suddenly aware of just how much i’ve missed the heights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRICULUM

from the frigid winters in Chicago,
i discovered the ability to mask
heartbreak with snow.

from the myriad people
rushing across those cold concrete streets,
i learned that if human beings were novels
i would never
have the privilege of being read.

and from the seasons that turned the city
solid white, then dotted it with green, 
i realized that those
delicate wildflowers in Lincoln Park
would keep on growing
even if
you refused to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VICIOUS CYCLE

i. you opened your mouth as if
you were about to speak, as if you
were about to confess that i was the shoreline
and you were the wavering current—
reaching for me and then running away,
but the syllables tangled;
the words got caught in your throat like pills and
you forced them down without water.

ii. before the end i realized
it’s the temporary things
that hurt the most.
(a tight hug about to unfold.
a bouquet of flowers on the side
of the road.)

iii. when it was over we existed
in the pause following
uncontrollable laughter,
in the momentary silence
after deafening applause dies down,
and in the fogged up car windows
left behind by thunderstorms.

iv. the embrace concluded and the
roses shriveled up
as you sipped your morning coffee
alone in a quiet room. between
the stillness of dawn and the amber
glow from fading streetlights,
you realized that
i was the poem

you were always trying to write.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

georgia

Georgia Eugenides is an eighteen-year-old poet who grew up in Berlin, Germany; Chicago, IL and Princeton, NJ. Her first poem was published when she was nine years old. After spending the previous summer interning at The Paris Review, she  decided to submit some of her own work to various publications.

 

 




 




 

 

 

     
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