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Melancholia: Flavor of the Day

Poet: Alexis Rotella

July days remind her of the morning she woke up paralyzed from the neck down when she was only three. How months later, when she started to walk, her parents would take her to the city for special shoes. What a nice town it was back then–crepe myrtles lining the sidewalks. The architecture stately.

Most of her childhood was spent playing in graveyards where she felt most at home. And when on vacation, she’d visit a cousin who’d take her to the spot under the cherry where a baby was buried inside a shoe box. It only lived eight minutes. The cherries from that tree, she said, were always sour.

In the middle of the night, she’d see a man at the foot of her bed. He wasn’t flesh-colored like normal people, he was more a dirty gray. Yet his eyes were soft like bluebells and he told her he meant no harm. But her grandmother knew better. Soon another in the family would die. Someone was always dying. In three years, everyone on her father’s side was gone.

Even though she doesn’t remember everything about her early years, she does recall the long summer months when she didn’t know what day it was. The Sunday walks she used to take in her corrective shoes after the polio, how her father would buy her a Dixie cup, how she’d eat the chocolate side first. But mostly she remembers the taste of the wooden spoon.

​ Easter dresses
little girls spin home
from church

Alexis Rotella is one of the leading writers of Japanese Poetry Forms. In 2020 her "Lost Souls" haibun was a Rattle finalist. "Unsealing Our Secrets" (MeToo Anthology and Scratches on the Moon (haibun) received Touchstone Book Awards (2019, 2020). Alexis' latest anthology Grandmother's Pearls is on Amazon/Kindle. Recently her haibun were published Atticus Review and Phare Literary Journal. She was nominated Haiku Archives honorary curator (Sacramento, Ca., 2019).

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