“forgive me, this is not a love poem” by Lilah Warren

Poetry Pause celebrates the winners of the 2024 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for young writers! Read “forgive me, this is not a love poem” by Lilah Warren, first place winner of the senior category.

forgive me, this is not a love poem

By Lilah Warren

The only beautiful thing. Your smile. Rebellion of a hairbrush left on the duvet. May God send me here when I die; your eyes. Futility of the dawn, futility of the teeth, a morning, ended, a tooth, decomposed. In another life I eat ginger candy and play the cello. In this life I see strangers kissing in their kitchen through the window.

The only beautiful thing. There is only one. The heart is a triangle, trigonometry, painfully scraping against angles. The mind is a muscle– you can peel layers away, there’s nothing at the center. Slightly to the left there is a cup of cold tea. A sage-green dress if you’re particular.

Beautiful one, I have no time to unpack you. I am grabbing fistfuls of time in my hands like sand; like water. I am a crow and the world is a grain of sand. I am a crow and you are a seed-pearl necklace. Do you remember when I believed in a garden? No, I never told you. Forgive me. Morning, ended. Not without my silent riot.

Oh, beautiful. The ink, so dark I want to taste it. Skull, a koi pond. Push me too far, they spill out onto the ground, splutter for air, die. Futility of domestication. You cannot keep a girl in a cage. Keep her in a cool, damp pool at the bottom of a cavern, a tidepool, brimming with ivy to cradle her.

There is only one beautiful thing. Oh, forgive me, love, it isn’t you.

Copyright © Lilah Warren

Lilah Warren is a grade 11 student. Lilah’s poem “forvige me, this is not a love poem” won first place in the senior category of the 2024 Jessamy Stusrberg Poetry Prize.

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