Someday I’ll Love Ottavia Paluch
by Ottavia Paluch

Winner, International Young Writers Prize

Ottavia, don’t be scared.

You’ll never have less of yourself

than you have right now.

Don’t fear. Your name is only your name

until you make up its’ meaning. Like how the sun

and your spine become the same,

whenever they curve against the world

and its endless weight. Ottavia,

can you hear me? The most beautiful part

of your eyes is wherever

it forgets how to see.

Here’s the body made unholy

because you forgot to pray.

Don’t fret. Just call it heaven

and you’ll never find it.

Here’s the future. Run. I promise it isn’t

a death sentence. Here’s the person

whose mirror reflection you cannot believe

is your own. And here’s the time,

after the moon comes up, when you can still see

her chest rising and falling the way yours does.

How you breathe in and out

to find your own pair of lungs.

You asked for forgiveness

and received two hands to fill.

Don’t be scared; the noise

is just the sound of people

thinking they had fire within them

and burning out. Ottavia. Ottavia—

stand up. The most beautiful part of your eyes

is what it’s looking at. And remember,

happiness still knows who you are

even when you don’t. Here’s

the destruction without the destroying.

Your friend who said everything happens

for a reason when nothing was happening.

Here’s a pencil you cannot hold properly

and ink that bleeds onto your fingers

to cover up the actual blood. Yeah, here’s

a mind so simple and soothing,

I swear, you’ll wake up

and think every mistake

belongs to God.

Ottavia Paluch lives in Ontario, Canada. Her work is published or forthcoming in Four Way Review, Gigantic Sequins, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Best Canadian Poetry, and Ghost City Review, among other places. She’s also an alumnx of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, Flypaper Lit’s Flight School workshop, and the Iowa Young Writers Studio.