©2019 by Canvas Literary Journal

Published by Cosmographia Books

Background art “Camouflage” by Hyung Jin Lee

Canvas logo by Ali Wrona


Olivia Bell

Autumn 2019

i. you live in that cadent interlude, a valley scooped from between the mountains, a layer of alpenglow smothering the peaks.

ii. winter is the natural state of things here. there’s something useless about summer, like a fawn stumbling over itself as it learns to walk, then relearns it every season. slender legs flecked with white, slender legs shaking.

iii. sometimes summer’s wide, hot breath murmurs its way over the cusp of fall, and the leaves are molting but the air is still brightening and then you feel like crying even though rust- colored september means you no harm. it’s as if she’s mumbling to you, with her withering voice, “look, here’s a newness and a dying all at once.”

iv. in the heart’s useless bright stoa, your face glows, warmer than a caldarium, a sunbeam through the oculus of my heart, and the light outside is a bacchanalia, like my melting gaze, and suddenly i want to fall at your feet and kiss them and kiss them and

v. may the time come when our hearts meet, perhaps in some dreamland beyond the strands and mountains. my sleeper in the valley. my light, my life, my garden, my rib.

vi. summer comes to a restless close at the quiet peak of an inhalation. and i know this is the order of things but there is still something unsparing about the way winter moves in. like fox-jaw, sly, elegant, comely. as if she’s saying, “look, there are no scavengers here. my teeth are bloodied, but only with the brutal verdancy of this season’s repeated acquiescence to endings.”

Olivia Bell is a high school senior from Chicago, Illinois. She is a recipient of the first place prize for poetry in the Arts Unlimited Community Art & Writing Contest, hosted by the Daily Herald, and an attendee of the Kenyon Young Writers Workshop, hosted through the Kenyon Review. In her free time, she works as the managing editor of her school’s literary magazine, the Free Run Press.