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Shawna Ervin


Joy– Collage of Life by Rene Cheng

Her voice lilted from her lips,
floated out the window to the front lawn;
my little-girl legs crossed neatly on her bed.
I worshipped
her reflection.

Her hands pulled my long hair
around foam rollers. Her languages rolled
together, twinkle twinkle estrellita.
Me llamo lingered with
faded lilies on her quilt.

I listened to her legacy, twirled
a nylon thread around one lean finger.
She told me how men drew lines
in her teenage leg hair, held her close,
gave her beauty
she could believe.

“Foolish,” she said. “I thought could find love
in any language.” She lifted her hand. I did too.
“Almost like mine,” she said, our nails
the same pink, the joints double, thumb
leaning back betraying
its regrets.

I smiled to the lines
by her eyes. Her hand curled gently
toward longing, drifted toward her lips.
A kiss. Eyes closed. A sigh.
Her fingers listless, her hand fell,
a feather among the lilies.


About the writer:
Shawna Ervin has an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University. She is a poetry reader for Adroit Journal and founding faculty of the Tupelo Press Teen Writing Center. Shawna is an alum of Bread Loaf and Tin House. Recent publications include Bangalore Review, Tampa Review, Cagibi, Synkroniciti, Rappahannock Review, The Maine Review, Sweet: A Literary Confection, and elsewhere. Shawna lives in Denver with her family.

Image: Joy– Collage of Life by Rene Cheng (contemporary). Oil on canvas. No size specified. 2017. By free license. This work was a Finalist for the First International Art Prize Meneghetti (2017).

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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