Late Onset Adolescence, Breck Hickman

you’re cutting beets grown
in someone else’s garden and
you look at your hands, stained
a deep magenta, and you know
the shadow will remain
after your attempts
to wash it off.

is this what it means
to fall out of love?
is this what it means
to be afraid of death,
the real one, the one
of forgetting?

you remember her laugh still,
how it billowed out of her
lungs and somehow into yours,
filling them with twice enough
oxygen and leaving your head
spinning from the overflow.

but you don’t crave it anymore,
not the easy being, but the
messy, bitter aftermath,
the tender bruise that you
could never quite decide if
the giddiness was worth. can you ever
really let go of someone
that you loved?

the sink water turns bright pink.
it’s warm and all-encompassing.
the mark left behind is fainter
than I imagined it would be.

About the Author

Madeline Maske · St. Edward’s University

Madeline Maske is a senior at St. Edward’s University. When not writing, she likes to enjoy long walks in the woods, drinking coffee with friends, and solving jigsaw puzzles. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her cats/writing companions, Hero and Beatrice. This piece was first published in Sorin Oak Review.

About the Artist

Breck Hickman · University of Minnesota

Breck Hickman received her BFA from the University of Minnesota in 2018. Her work has also been shown at the Red Garage, the Larson Gallery, the Nash Gallery, and her university’s Gender and Sexuality Center. “Late Onset Adolescence” first appeared in The Tower Magazine. More of her work can be found at or on Instagram @breck_the_ok. This piece was first featured in plain china in 2019.

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