Mother monarch treads water,
Floats gently, to pretend her feet touch the ocean floor,
Her tired mind distributes a headache, pounding against her skull like waves.
The ocean spray masks her strongest tears
As she works to raise her own, up above the overwhelming water
Silent father sky stands high,
mumbles low
His reluctant vocal chords travel through the breeze,
But fail to give desperate help
To the wet paper membrane of sanity,
Held above the ocean deep,
Seemingly solid but bending fast,
Stretched thin by three dense marbles weighing down the middle.
Clashing, clacking,
Warring for attention,
The oldest acts out heaviest.
Dark blue marble, brother big, competes with sticky youth
Never good enough,
Proves their drastic visions
Then twists the world one-eighty.
Second marble, pastel pink swirls, struggles through the medium.
She pushes for the middle, displaces brother blue an inch or two,
They fight.
Middle marble, acidic mind,
Blurry eyes absorb panic
And standards float above clouds.
Middle voice goes forgotten, lost in labyrinth fear.
Fights for focus on either side, smothered by herself.
The membrane strains and stretches.
Concentrated gravity pulls sanity towards danger
A tear will open wider, painful,
To drop them, sink them, down into the dark soul ocean that encompasses all thought.
But baby marble, translucent sister youngest, has no gravity of her own.
Useful ears and stitched up mouth,
Mute, mutual, neutral, nothing.
An unintended afterthought,
Silent smell of fallen leaves.
Darkness mocks her as a flickering androgynous zero,
Who dares not disturb the universe.
She’s light enough,
Too light,
Too little,
But she is held up, exalted artist, by brother blue and sister pink, mother membrane, and father’s soothing rumble.
Mute invisible, she contents herself as a featherweight zero
And the membrane holds,
The ocean breeze breathes relief.


Crashing Ceremony: 

Ancient email spoke slowly of nothing, and I gifted you my ignorance. Mi piaci, I sent. Et tu, Google translate? Stabbed in the back and shot through the chest, I couldn’t see your face. Blinded awkward. Soon enough, buzzing nerves, a rapid knee, a typed note composed: Would I be the Annabeth to your Percy?

Were you him? Disjointed. I thought I was. Disappointed. No, Nico is my mind, so search not for gold strands here. Awkward was my disjointed mind. But to the note was a yes: a tentative bid for undeserved affection. 42. Mi piaci. Copper tellurium, 2952, a green heart glowing on a screen of nervous hope.


Musical Dreamscape:

Summer we spent on the bus to parades, playing a couple and Rock Paper Scissors. We chewed gum in line for the creaky Ferris wheel and chickened in the clouds, then on the bus, again grew brave and kissed. In the dark I sang with my stereo heart and you laughed “Liar” to honor my elusive voice. Awkward together, we worked, and there was no place I would have rather been.



School shoves into our summer and we die apart, you and I, two nerds in a sea of raging jocks. Too shy, too young, crushing awkward; I wouldn’t hold your hand.

No pigtails to pull so you stole my pen and poked my shoulder. It was cute until it wasn’t and then it wasn’t and it wasn’t and you wouldn’t give up, but we didn’t know how to flirt, and there were eyes watching, teasing, everywhere, and I wanted to hide.

You tried so hard, glass full of air. I’m sorry. Lo siento. Mi dispiace. I’m so sorry.

It ended as it began: a mistake. I was cruel. I know. I’m sorry.

A year-late apology is worse than none at all. I’m sorry. You moved on. I’m proud. I’m sorry.


You always ran. I always hid.


Martian Jester, maverick joker, my first and last and only love, love is big and we were small, and my heart is a desolate wasteland.

C’est la vie.






About the poet:

Dorothy Zeisler is a freshman and an English major at SUNY Oneonta. She graduated from Charlotte Valley Central School as Valedictorian after attending an Engineering Program at BOCES during her senior year. She has since liberated herself from Calculus and Physics and is resuming her plan to be a creative writer. Dorothy’s ambition is to write and illustrate her own books, since being a hobbit, Jedi, wizard (Hufflepuff), demigod (child of Hades), or Starfleet Officer (specifically Spock) weren’t options, but so far she still lives with her parents and their cats.