The Seventeen Seconds of Odette
Hidden in Sight
Resentment as a Kind of Relief
Over the Kanawha
Culled from the Flock
The Beauty in Fracturing
The Birth of Our Names
“you are young”
They speak in ancient tongues
and cast a spell upon your hands—
hands that have only known
the touch of unvarnished time, the taste
of cherry. But today they are riddled
with the constellations that others
tried to hold. Your palms now carry
a soft, sweet scent, and you have
forgotten its name. The lights dim,
and your ceiling awakens the stars;
you wonder if you will forget
their names, too. Close your eyes
and forget their dialects:
Lyra will lull you to sleep.
years later, they ask you
what you want to be.
you present them with an hourglass.
When you graduate, you leave behind
the girl who spent her childhood
longing for sun, who bit her lips
to insults, who abandoned a garden
of words that never flourished. She is
Sagittarius, an archer without a bow.
She is hydrogen, a heavy heart
that runs from fireflies. She remembers
the fragrance of cherries, but she will
never taste them again. Time
will distance the two of you;
you have already forgotten her name.
You will learn that stories always
begin with their endings, and that
women are born from supernovae.
So when Polaris dies, its light will remain:
you have taken its place.
About The Author
Tesneem Madani is a freshman at Eastern Michigan University majoring in biochemistry. She draws inspiration from the university’s greenhouse as well as her faith, and her best writing comes after sunset. She enjoys warm cups of tea, painting and looking after her birds.