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To Whom I Was too Afraid to Love

Updated: Apr 15

By Wren Ashenhurst



Dolly Parton plays on the battery radio

I am laid out under an oak tree

the sun sits hunched low painting the sky

blue fading to orange

just at the horizon line it’s grey

I tell him I’m that grey; he laughs,

fiddles with the sunflower I brought him

he finds me in sonatas

somehow we live forever

They take me to an aquarium

hold my hand;

tucks the clasped mass into their pocket

they’re so warm

they takes me to the place where it feels

like we are the things the fish have come to see

where we can breathe underwater

at least we pretend

believing by breathing in each other's air

we can never drown.

we don’t kiss

She reads to me

in the hushed hours of the late night

her voice articulating how to identify fissures

I ask her what fissures are; she tells me

she used to be a singer before she discovered microscopes

even when she tells me horrible things

her voice carries that note of music

of calm

I ask her to stop telling me things from her anatomy textbook

she doesn’t understand

They teach me how to paint

I start to see their colours in my poetry

I teach them how to read the stars

how to have them lead you home

they say they are home

He was a dancer

so light on his feet you would think he was flying

he lived for the thrill of the performance

I asked him his favourite dance once

he smiled, heavy handed statements

lead on his tongue


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Wren R. Ashenhurst is a writer and artist from the Canadian West Coast, currently an undergraduate completing their Bachelors of Fine Arts with a double extended minor in creative writing and theater. Their work explores themes of queer identity, existential dread, and the melancholic, addictive horror of being known. When not writing, they often find themself painting. This is their first publication.


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