©2019 by Canvas Literary Journal

Published by Cosmographia Books

Background art “Camouflage” by Hyung Jin Lee

Canvas logo by Ali Wrona

strawberry moon, strawberry baby

Natalie Owen

Autumn 2019

salty red-honey sauce, baby-hair curls of chocolate:

what i saw through the window
the night i skinny-dipped and ran
(barefoot heels scraping asphalt at the crosswalk)

to find you at work.

you were backlit.
my skin, with gaping mouth
(goosebumps)
wanting, through the glass,
your cool soft ponytail against my collarbone.

hungry naked stare catching through the window

wealthy women dining, flash of teeth and rings

and your smooth strong brown hands
polishing wine glasses.

things would be different
if we were the last two bodies on earth.

ted bundy and his girlfriend had serial killer

sex.

we watched their fuzzed out whacked out

story
on the couch in your basement
while upstairs, your mom ate celery and chia seeds

(into the night, cold money)

and didn’t think to ask
her daughter if she kissed girls.

the moon that night was strawberry.
i remember because i wanted to look,

but you were too afraid she would see us.

we snuck out the bulkhead,

filing-cabinet escape to Narnia,
and i drove your truck barefoot

wrapped in a white blanket
the one with the moth-eaten baby-blue edges
and rusty blood stains
from the time we raced across the train yard at sunset

and had a bloodyfoot picnic.

wrong side of town.
i cat-napped on my front porch beneath the locked door

eyelids fluttering shut on the pink glow moon
at her peak in the grainy sky
curled in my dirty white blanket,
thinking about your skin under my rough thumb
and your sour morning breath at 1 a.m.

caressed by the moon’s gentle fingers i slept.

innocent as a waterbirth infant
fresh and wet.
strawberry moon, strawberry baby.

i dreamed that maybe, after all,
we were the last two bodies on earth.

soft bubble dream, dream of a
porch cradle babe beneath blushing orb.

but a spider stepped across my lip
as the sun cracked
(soft-boiled, runny, wet drunk tears)
over the building across the street
and you didn’t text me again until a few weeks later

to tell me you weren’t in town.

you were, though—
i had seen your shadow polishing glasses
monday nights when i walked by,
arched soft hands rubbing lemon oil cloth,
in the dimly lit restaurant where rich women ate—

but i understood.

 

my thumb and my tongue argued.
heartbreak tasted different in the daytime
when i saw earthly bodies
but was dreaming of celestial ones,
dancing, tangled, breathing into each other
in the sky, on your couch, on tiptoe tracing outlines.

at night wasn’t so bad.
but i found your number in my wallet
the other day while reaching for my subway card

and found metal in the back of my throat,
my throat that had laughed and flirted
and whispered love with you late on a june night.
i felt the weight of my eyes as they had been

looking up at the fat strawberry moon
from my porch as i (baby) dreamed into you.

slipping through the T turnstile i blink—

we are not the last two bodies on earth.

natalie owen is a seventeen-year-old high school senior from Boston, Massachusetts. She loves to read Joan Didion and Vladimir Nabokov, among many other authors, and she writes as a form of catharsis, creation, and thought condensation.