Walk Within the Garden As If It Were a Garden
after Villa of Livia
In the room, you are surrounded
by silent birds, each set of wings
stilled and doused in whatever you consider
the absence of colour. Miles shrinking
to a pinch, horizon an elusive diffraction
of light. Beaks brush feathers as if just realizing
they are there. Free: illusion.
The layers of stained blue make you forget
that you too are made
of many skins; that walking through the garden
means stepping outside
of your body, your face one
flammable fresco, your ribs a thin cage
you cannot kiss. If: a whisper.
The warm fruit blooms
and never stops, resting on the shadows
housed by leaves. You do anything
but look at the ceiling
or speak of the goldfinch. Let us pretend
no crack weaves through the neck of a bird
like one great Cupid’s arrow
splintered down its center. Let us not mention
the slant of gates, so close to breaking.
on the ceiling wakes you up; makes you remember
the architecture of another room’s silence
made of walls.
You curl your fingers into a fist,
not wanting to knock,
knowing no one is on the other side.
Rachael Lin Wheeler
Rachael Lin Wheeler is currently a student attending Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. Her poetry, prose, and photography have been recognized by Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She is also the founder and editor of Vox Viola Literary Magazine, an intersectional feminist online publication, which can be found at https://voxviola.com.
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