By Ariel K. Moniz
At a mere whisper near the periphery of thought, I may suddenly find myself ankle deep in melancholy, my mind perched somewhere distant and alive, there again along the Italian coastline. Those memories remain so vibrant, while others, much more recent or meaningful perhaps, fade like laundry left too long in the sun—
The cast of midsummer light, the rinds of lemons pinched with flavor, the grasping roots of the olive trees, how they clung to the hillsides amid paths built of forgotten stone. Fingers blessed with dripping gelato and sand, baptized in the warm promise of the Atlantic sea. The hush of the siesta hour, that midday haze punctuated by the lethargic flight of pigeons and the foot falls of the beach bound. The smell of rosemary still lingers every time I hear distant church bells—
I imagine it is because a poet’s heart cannot help but to pine for the somber romance of nostalgia, particularly how it stings with the passage of time. I cannot ignore how these perfect wounds dressed as memories ache with the years. Or more honestly, it is because, looking back, I am terribly aware that those weeks were the last time I felt that my future, my life, could look like absolutely anything—
I still long for that freedom, that horizon.
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Ariel K. Moniz (she/her) is a queer Black poetess and Hawaii local. She is the winner of the 2016 Droste Poetry Award and a Best of the Net nominee. Her writing has found homes with Blood Bath Literary Zine, Nymphs Publications, The Centifictionist, and Sunday Mornings at the River Press, among others. She is a Best of the Net nominee and currently serves as an editor and a co-founder of The Hyacinth Review. You can find her through her website at kissoftheseventhstar.home.blog or staring out to sea.