• By Gabriella Miller

True Blue


The color before the sun rises, due east,

as the horizon is painted

with streaks from heaven like a stained brush

across the celestial canvas.


The color of hotel swimming pools at 7 A.M.—

deserted and calm,

flat water undisturbed like the church ceiling

where I was baptized.


The color of the high dive in the heat of summer,

chlorine rising in the air

with its bleach-strong scent that will stain

my skin for days.


The color of my wet hair’s sheen when I hold it just right,

illuminated by the skylights

that open the ceiling of my parents’ upstairs bathroom

to the ceiling of the world.


The color of midnight moths tearing at the window panes,

beating their paper wings

faster than I would dare to breathe, lest I risk

touching the paper sky.


The color of television static against the wall,

ten years ago—

when my parents used to stay up late together

before my brother was born.


The color of the denim jacket around my skin,

stiff but forgiving

as I brace my arms like narrow shields

against the wind.


The color of the nightlight that brightens my bedroom,

a glow that steadily burns

against the monsters that pour from inside my closet

and trickle from under my bed.


The color of oncoming winter filling my nostrils,

cold and thrilling

like the high rise before the roller coaster

comes rushing down.


The color of the moon when you see it twice

in a single empty month,

pale like my oldest friend’s bare shoulder

pressed against my pillowcase.


The color of whispered secrets in my ear—

don’t play truth or dare

when it’s impossible to find reality

amidst a million liars.


The color of true love—not red like a beating heart,

but just the opposite:

the blue of the veins I see through your skin

as you sing me to sleep.


Gabriella Miller has a BA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. She is an avid reader and writer, and lives in Vermont with her parents and two cats.

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