Kallipolis I

I was born in the city ornamented by stories 

Every perfect, pious man stitched into a tapestry folded over my childhood bed 

I lapped up stories of good men, 

carved them into my belt,
sharpened them into my sword 

When anger and fear pulled my spine,
I learned what my city never taught: 

a hero is not a man. 

When I left these gilded walls, intending to defend them 

I met a girl who eats olives and lives on rye remarks

She hangs over a sheetless mattress, 

pops chickpeas into crooked teeth 

hums her folk songs like a dim electric lamp 

Run away together— humbled romantic words from her mouth 

I had known to run, but never away, 

away together, to find a common love under the oaks,

strewn on a sheetless mattress 

as a battery powered radio gives shape to her music.

We sway in a barefoot, clumsy harmony 

They told me there was gold in my veins, 

that my soul was wrought in the earth, 

but the earth is where my feet touch down 

and feel only dirt,

and only red in my heart

My palm is calloused, but it is in hers

Maybe there is something to being mortal

About the Author

Laurel Marchaven is a sophomore Communications Major at Eastern University. She loves poetry, strangely-shaped teapots, and hoarding notebooks like a dragon.

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