That day, the sun rose into the morning like honeycomb sliding off a hot knife, filling the haze with a buttery, oneiric glow.
We ran down the hill, eager and full, words heavy and sweet spilling out of our mouths. Time slipped through our damp fingers like opalescent minnows in a frigid stream.
At the bottom of the hill, we touched velvet dew-covered figs whose winey skins broke at our fingertips, revealing jammy caverns of blushing jewels. We pretended we were Edenic, eternal, and held our breath so God could not find us.
Stray cats with sagging bellies sniffed our feet.
We put our knuckles under their chins
for a moment and found
licking sweat from our fingers
and leftover salami grease.
Thinking about those cats was all that kept me from crying later, at my mother’s wedding. Innocent felines that seemed unbound from time. A wedding is a temporal shift, and the days after are runny yolks of eggs, the hours slipping into weeks slipping into years. Even her wedding, with that swooping hawk and periwinkle bird eggs and unimaginable chocolate cake that stuck under my fingernails like saccharine loam, begins to fade into the forest of my brain.
You and I—we will not marry—instead of taking your name I’ll give you a bowl of plums,
ripe and bursting,
satin hearts that,
drip through my fingers.
My mouth full of fruit,
sticking to the corners,
fruit flies congregating
in the kitchen sink,
yearning for ambrosia:
these are my vows.
Let me give you this vessel, brimming with purple moons, too small to hold the world.
Maren Loveland is a graduate student at Vanderbilt University studying American literature. She has essays published or forthcoming in Inscape, Sidereal Magazine, and Dream Pop Press.