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The worms will come for you soon

Three poems by Madeline Zilelian

Madeline Zilelian is deeply influenced by her Armenian heritage and by the death of her parents.
Madeline Zilelian is deeply influenced by her Armenian heritage and by the death of her parents.

My Golden Coast

  • For Adrian Ernesto Cepeda
  • Caught in my first traffic jam,
  • just south of The Getty Center —
  • I love this stretch of freeway —
  • the congestion gave me stillness,
  • time to memorize how the road,
  • reflects the curve of the coast.
  • The honks of horns sound like seagulls
  • drowned out by too loud music 
  • carried by whiplash winds.
  • My face raisins; I am 
  • too cool for sunblock.
  • Craftsmen wait at every exit
  • to sell me memories —
  • seashells I didn’t pick,
  • sand I never walked on,
  • I buy, the weight of memory filling 
  • my shelves…
  • something to look at when I’m old,
  • to remind me of seafood and wine 
  • swelling my belly that day. Four star 
  • or no star dining, roasting marshmallows 
  • over fire pits of Dockwieller Beach.
  • while guitars serenade the dying ember. 

The Last Bad Goodbye 

  • The tick-tock, 
  • mourning clock —
  • All that is left 
  • in your wake.
  • strokes of these hands irritate, 
  • every sweep reminding me
  • your hands will never sweep 
  • me up again.
  • Your hands will not move,
  • not soothe, not salute
  • the flag you fought for.
  • The worms will come for you soon —
  • rest in your bed of satin
  • and wool covers —
  • mindlessly consuming what is left 
  • of you until they are done. 
  • I envy those worms.

Aida

  • Orange subway tiles remind me of you. 
  • You taught me about the projects, weed and sex
  • while riding trains into the city.
  • You showed me how to read the map,
  • our underground freeways. 
  • You were never too cool to play 
  • with me —
  • I grew in your shadow,
  • unconsciously cultivating 
  • jealousy and anger
  • for your hard won escape.
  • Falling out was a near deadly blow —
  • hurt not yet hidden by scabs or scars,
  • only caged smiles.
  • I wish I could kiss your cold hard teeth, 
  • breathe trust into you, 
  • be worthy of your airy faith. 
  • The space between us is filled 
  • with blood —
  • synthetic as our hate.
  • From the other side, I whisper:
  • Please, be my sister again.

Native New Yorker Madeline Zilelian is deeply influenced by her Armenian heritage and by the death of her parents. She earned her MFA in fiction and poetry from Antioch University of Los Angeles. She is a former pro snowboarder and blue-ribbon equestrian. Her day-job as a real estate investor and futures trader gives her the financial freedom and flexibility to travel and write. She draws inspiration from her travels, especially her adventures in Morocco, China, Australia, and Europe. She lives with her fiancé in Staten Island.

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Madeline Zilelian is deeply influenced by her Armenian heritage and by the death of her parents.
Madeline Zilelian is deeply influenced by her Armenian heritage and by the death of her parents.

My Golden Coast

  • For Adrian Ernesto Cepeda
  • Caught in my first traffic jam,
  • just south of The Getty Center —
  • I love this stretch of freeway —
  • the congestion gave me stillness,
  • time to memorize how the road,
  • reflects the curve of the coast.
  • The honks of horns sound like seagulls
  • drowned out by too loud music 
  • carried by whiplash winds.
  • My face raisins; I am 
  • too cool for sunblock.
  • Craftsmen wait at every exit
  • to sell me memories —
  • seashells I didn’t pick,
  • sand I never walked on,
  • I buy, the weight of memory filling 
  • my shelves…
  • something to look at when I’m old,
  • to remind me of seafood and wine 
  • swelling my belly that day. Four star 
  • or no star dining, roasting marshmallows 
  • over fire pits of Dockwieller Beach.
  • while guitars serenade the dying ember. 

The Last Bad Goodbye 

  • The tick-tock, 
  • mourning clock —
  • All that is left 
  • in your wake.
  • strokes of these hands irritate, 
  • every sweep reminding me
  • your hands will never sweep 
  • me up again.
  • Your hands will not move,
  • not soothe, not salute
  • the flag you fought for.
  • The worms will come for you soon —
  • rest in your bed of satin
  • and wool covers —
  • mindlessly consuming what is left 
  • of you until they are done. 
  • I envy those worms.

Aida

  • Orange subway tiles remind me of you. 
  • You taught me about the projects, weed and sex
  • while riding trains into the city.
  • You showed me how to read the map,
  • our underground freeways. 
  • You were never too cool to play 
  • with me —
  • I grew in your shadow,
  • unconsciously cultivating 
  • jealousy and anger
  • for your hard won escape.
  • Falling out was a near deadly blow —
  • hurt not yet hidden by scabs or scars,
  • only caged smiles.
  • I wish I could kiss your cold hard teeth, 
  • breathe trust into you, 
  • be worthy of your airy faith. 
  • The space between us is filled 
  • with blood —
  • synthetic as our hate.
  • From the other side, I whisper:
  • Please, be my sister again.

Native New Yorker Madeline Zilelian is deeply influenced by her Armenian heritage and by the death of her parents. She earned her MFA in fiction and poetry from Antioch University of Los Angeles. She is a former pro snowboarder and blue-ribbon equestrian. Her day-job as a real estate investor and futures trader gives her the financial freedom and flexibility to travel and write. She draws inspiration from her travels, especially her adventures in Morocco, China, Australia, and Europe. She lives with her fiancé in Staten Island.

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