Elana Rubin


When I first found poetry, like really
cut past the rhymes and fancy to the squishy stuff
underneath (it had to be warm
and fleshy, like a squirming piglet)
I felt so free. I felt alive writing phrases
like, “swollen daisies in their vase,”
and “train coughing up smoke”—they kept coming.
Once I saw a little girl bouncing
in a waiting room, saying, “It’s my couch.”
“It’s not your couch,” her mother said.
“It’s my couch.” That kind of ownership.
I thought I was the next Robert Frost.
Now I can’t describe the feeling
every morning of walking the long hallway
to the elevators or pushing the heavy door
to scarves and pea coats I don’t know,
sedans that used to be white
kicking up gray slush in the street.
A poet once described his sadness
as gulls trailing him for crust,
so simple really, his fingers
splayed out, presenting
the half-eaten sandwich.

Elana Rubin is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She is the co-editor in chief of J.Magazine, Johns Hopkins’ literary magazine. Besides writing, Elana enjoys reading, hiking, sailing, and singing, as well as performing with her a cappella group on campus. In high school, she wrote and self-published Culture Shock, a memoir about her experiences with Judaism and living in Israel.


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