Elegy on a Black Lake in December

Come on, we used to talk about it
all the time. You wanted death and
I wanted you. Last night I found you
standing open-handed in my bedroom
again, like you still had something

to give. Orchids wilting in your mouth,
your eyes staring wild and bloodshot
at the snarl of fir trees cresting the swollen hill.
You used to talk about souls and pretend
you didn’t have one. You used to talk

about your dad but made no attempt
to love him. All I’m saying is I sometimes
picture you swimming in a boundless river
of sky, the color changing all the time. Water
like amniotic fluid, the childhood you never

had. All I’m saying is we need to wake up,
shake the metal out of our mouths. All
I’m saying is maybe we could startle ourselves
from the ground, fan out wings and lift off
into the distant sunset like mottled loons.


Margot Armbruster is a high school student from Wisconsin. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glass Kite Anthology, The Best Teen Writing of 2016, and The Noisy Island, among others. She participated in the Adroit Journal’s 2016 Summer Mentorship, and she was commended by the Poetry Society of the UK’s Foyle Young Poets Award.