You are no longer a child.

Photo by Greg Rosenke / Unsplash

by Hailey Spencer

Afternoon coffee, fingers
twitch against the cabinets                                           and it’s gray outside the window

the leaves were supposed to fully coat the ground by now,
                                                                                 slick sidewalks like when you were a kid
the way you slipped in the aisle of the bus and hit your head,
a memory that shouldn’t send you anywhere soft inside your mind
                                                         but of course it does. 

You are no longer a child.
You are no longer a child.
You are no longer a child.                                                     But childhood still grips you
                                                                                                                    in its sharp canines
                                                                     and stories you only now begin to understand. 

Starting at the ending helps.
Not starting at all is not an option. 

                                                                                                         You drink the coffee,

The year you turned twenty-five, you lived in an apartment with an electric fireplace
but a furnace that barely emitted heat.

Cocooned in blankets, coffee
wrapped inside your hands

there are many ways to survive the winter.

You used to think they were all the same
                                                                     but you don’t think that anymore.

Hailey Spencer is a poet, writer, and collage artist based in Seattle Washington. Her debut collection, Stories for When the Wolves Arrive, was published through First Matter Press in 2022. As of summer 2023, she has joined the press as an editor and board member. Her work deals with her obsessions, including fairy tales and insects. For more on Hailey and her work, visit her on Instagram @outofloveinspring or on her website