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lavender on my forehead on ash wednesday - Tova Greene

for r.t.o.: forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit (vergil’s aeneid, 1.203)

if i could smell this moment forever,

i would. as soft & sweet as the strip

of unworn skin between your fingers

you let me idly graze like grass in

sunlight. my nose is cold with winter

but my chest is full of springtime. i

realize now why you’re so easy to love:

you’re the cherry blossoms in union

square. ever fleeting. so frustratingly

impermanent that i have no choice but

to drink you like rainwater. i don’t know

if it’s possible to love you like this for

that much longer. my lungs might burst,

blooming too soon, like my father’s. i

can’t say whether this much loveliness

is sustainable beyond a mere season; we

are two too restless for change. but for

right now, you smell like home. please,

let me soak up all of you, even just for

one minute. & perhaps—as per the son

of love swept from troy—it will be pleasing

to have remembered these things one day.


TOVA G. (they/them) is a non-binary, queer, jewish poet who specializes in the intersection between twentieth century poetics, dramatic literature, & ancient greek & roman antiquity at sarah lawrence college in yonkers, new york. they work often with the poetry society of new york. their work has been featured in the eunoia review, midway journal, love and squalor, clickbait, and primavera zine. they currently live in fidi in manhattan with their partner and cat. they work in midtown at the museum of sex.

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