Maslenitsa

Mary Lawrence Ware

Brooklyn, New York

Saint Ann's School

CAS for Database

Poetry

It’s eternal summer in God’s waiting room —

365 rotations a year around

Infernal infirmary lights

Broken apart by respites

Of IV drip bliss,

Beer gut heaving beneath

Rattlesnake lungs.


Shame has buried him

In a Blue Ridge hospital,

Swaddled him in cornflower sheets.


“I am twenty at heart,”

He tells me, hand on mine,

“Even though my heart is eighty-eight.”

          And he laughs until blackened

          pulmonary wheezes shut him up.


I push pancakes across my plate

And meet milk-spotted eyes full of fate.

Both of our gazes diverge,

Propped up against the cage of crimson sunrise.


Stale bones rest heavy,

An effigy upon the hill.


Three seventy-five-cent dials later

A voice tells me how they laid him

Flat against cold metal

Inserted sterile instruments

          How fast he slipped under

          How they tried their hardest,


Green lines chattering behind them,

and


          How for the first time he felt nothing.


-

This piece was previously published in Brooklyn Public Library‘s 2020 Teen Writing Journal.

EDITORIAL PRAISE

"Maslenitsa" is a fresh ballad that sings of life and loss—a genuine, modern portrayal of grief. As the speaker listens and watches, we come to meet them through the lens of everything from pancakes to sterilized hospital rooms. We, too, settle between the “cornflower blankets” in these moments of heartbreak and healing. This piece beautifully reckons with the world—bringing us into what lies before us and after us in God’s “eternal summer”.

Mary Lawrence Ware is a high school junior at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Sewanee Young Writers' Conference and currently serves as the Writing Editor for Fever Dreams Magazine. She has received awards in both local and national competitions and has been published in various magazines and journals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR