2022 Poetry Collection

Big Sun & The Crabapple Miracle


Have you met me yet?

I am a small animal who is trying to fall in love with you. Oh, wait, no, that can’t be right. 

I woke up really slow at first and then all of the sudden. And all of the things I had been holding in my hands and in the space between my skin and my real self started to fall, which is to say I started to drop them, and then couldn’t remember how to pick them up again. I started to get smaller, and smaller, and smaller, until I exploded, until I met my real body. 

Have we met before?

So now I’m standing really tall, you see, to make up for all this time I’ve lost being a big, happy animal. I’m not hungry because I’m not with you; I’m not hungry because there’s nothing to apologize for, and I’ve never felt better. 

Come inside. I live one long walk away. It’s really coming down, you say. I’ll make it worth it. Come with me. 

The months are really long, but I don’t mind, because there is nothing in a month; it is empty, there is nothing at all. You make a small noise like an animal when I touch you. My door doesn’t lock, and I’m still sleeping, still in limbo. Have you seen the way I speak when I’m at home? It’s so much louder than you’d think— I love it, and it’s not going to change. I’m still an animal, but I’m starting to be an animal who loves you. 

The door closes on the sound of my laughter. It is not warm in the house, but it doesn’t hurt a bit, not a breath above zero. If I keep going this way, I will disappear. Footprints in the snow like icing sugar on a really pink tongue. 


I don’t believe that we would have ended up here regardless. I think about it for a long time, not on purpose, I just end up there, chewing on the to-be-discarded wood of a popsicle stick. 

 You are talking now, more to yourself than to me, and I am listening with a warm and tired passivity. We stand up from the bench and keep walking, the wind picking up speed over the water, the back of my jacket a hollow, ballooning mouth full of air. We make slow time through the sand. It is coming on six now, and still, I am tucked inside of myself. 

It’s like this: I can look through the freshly-washed windows at the shiny new objects that I could have by now, but then I just keep walking. My pockets are empty now, except for you, but I don’t need the coins because the machine doesn’t take them and anyways, I have nothing to buy. My hands are empty now, but they are not wanting, for the page I had been desperately flipping to find has been found and the wind is not moving my thumbs from the paper, it is still and starch and open, the words read and re-read, my eyes never tiring of them. I close my eyes and try to imagine the others. I think of Sylvia and her fig tree and her porcelain skin; I think of the things I could have grasped for, had my hands been emptier, but the figs are still ripe, no matter how late into summer we wander, that lingering smell of rot kept at bay since I met you, so I pick one and eat it and it is cherry-sweet and musky, the smell sticking to the skin above my lip and the underneath of my fingernails. The figs are not rotting so we eat them all, one by one, like popping balloons. When I am beside you, devouring their soft, succulent flesh, I am not thinking of the sweetened remains of the wasps that could-have-been, their futures or their families or whether they regret entering the teasing invite of the fig’s supple flower. I try to imagine the wasp alive and my stomach empty, my bedsheets clean and touseled and my cupboards empty. I try to imagine a different life and I try to let the fruit fester into wine and I try to burn the page but it doesn’t catch and the sun keeps shining and autumn never comes, so we keep eating until we are full, and then we fall asleep, bodies side by side in the smoke of the late September sun. 

I’m not interested in the wasp. I’m not interested in turning rotten fruit into wine. I’m interested in sitting beside you, under the fig tree, and letting the fruit that needs to fall, fall.

Do you understand me?

Cate Ducayen

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