“March” by Joanna Cleary


“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
—Shakespeare, The Tempest (4.1.1887-89)

Weeks ago, I read a poem about a lover
Thawing with spring until she disappears
With the snow, another about a father
Light with illness as he leaves his bed
To tend to his children. A choice: I can
Either melt away or I can turn outwards
To face myself. Let my body revolve
Around the sun, my shadow lengthening
Day by day. Weeks ago, these poems,
Now evaporated like dreams of seasons
And forgotten islands of time still waiting
For me to return. My love waits too,
Pulling me back to a lingering evening
Where we finish the dishes—her washing
And giving them to me, clean, to dry.
I kiss her after they’ve been put away,
Soft as the roundness of slow awakening.
There. I’ve chosen. Let it be spring.

Joanna Cleary (she/her) is an emerging artist and recent graduate of University of Waterloo interested in using poetry to explore the intersection of sexuality, shame, and the body. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The /tƐmz/ Review, The Hunger, Gordon Square Review, Every Pigeon, Always Crashing and Apricity Press, among others. Follow her on Instagram @joannacleary121.