“To the Girl who painted” 

her loft bedroom a dark blue

who plastered stars

on all the walls

lay in bed lonely

pretending she could see

through the ceiling

There is a reason you looked

to the night sky for isolated comfort

resented the sun

for outshining older glimmers

who traveled farther to

get here

You knew the tremendous emptiness

that Cassini experienced

when orbiting Saturn

and her moons

I know you

I know

if someone asked you

to dive into a gas giant

to die in the cosmos

learning until your pieces

tore apart in Saturn’s atmosphere

you would go

To the girl who spent her childhood

in the smallest bedroom

turned it into

the definition of infinity

I know why you wanted to leave

Somewhere in

the endless universe

there might be

someone like you



Little papers folded and curled

to fit through the top of

an old wine bottle

Flowers pressed between

pages of my mother’s favorite book

until they are dry and brittle

Movie ticket stubs

wrinkled and stained from pockets and popcorn

stumble into my wooden keepsake box

The first autumn leaves found on

brisk morning walks brought to

the coffee table for others to admire

Notes my sister left me as a child

crayons and poems taped and glued

to the walls of my navy blue bedroom

This is what I do

with every memory

I keep of you



“Change of Plans” 

I worked harder

than all of them

I wanted more than they

could ever imagine

They had a vague idea

of their future

While I schemed and earned

everything I dreamt of and more

I learned

some people get to live

in the passenger seat

and watch all the passing

mountains and trees

while the ones driving

planning and navigating

Crash because they were

too focused on the map

I was in control

I was paying attention

I deserved what they were given

Now I’ve learned

deserve is just a word

made by people who didn’t achieve

the plans they spent

their whole lives wanting

and working for

I deserve no more


Biographical Note: Anna McElhannon is an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky studying physics and creative writing. She is currently researching RR Lyrae stars, and in her free time you can find her drawing, writing, or taking long walks in the cold.