Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 1



A.H. Ellis


well-worn shoes

my fingertips
loosen the laces enough
for a baby elephant’s foot to slip into my sopping wet chuck taylors
once black, the fabric of each shoe has faded,
grown green like a fallen
moss-covered tree
in an ancient forest
lying still as growth
claws at its belly,
worships at its dormant feet,
coarse-grained sand pours from the crevices of the ripped seams –
it’s damn near impossible
to rid the exposed innards
of it all,
the crunchy little pellets
digging into my toes,
as i slosh ashore
more saltwater courses
through the toe of the shoe
dislodged from the sole
surrendering
to the beatings
of the sea
an ex emblazoned my initials on the shoes’ thin tongues,
she overlooked
the corniness of wearing
your own initials –
i ignored
the fact
i’d had AHE
branded on my arm like a signed will
a decade earlier,
the bright red
stitching now fraying
barely holding on,
the waves
carrying on
their
constant
roiling




tuesday (for mom)

i awoke to the aroma of dark roast and sunlight
making its daily debut, opened the blinds

             of my sleeping mask. a hushed rustling of newspaper
             from the family room – i hadn’t slept

                          long enough for jeff to relocate to his office.
                          i sighed heavily – the days of coffee in bed seemed like a lifetime

                                       and then some ago. the gust of wow left my lips
                                       in tandem with the pink-throated hummingbird’s dash

                          from the balcony flowers. i slid into my slippers
                          shuffled to the stairs, methodically inched toward the kitchen.

             the closer i got to the coffee pot, the quicker the pace
             of my descent. leo and i greeted each other

his hefty body blocking my access at the entryway,
as he leaned into my sleepy knees.

he should’ve known i was in a hurry –
best not stay long, the coffee was getting impatient



Alexander Hoffman-Ellis: “i'm back in school at the university of victoria in british columbia, simultaneously working toward become an elementary teacher and a citizen of canada. i've been a professional athlete, a field station tech, and an emergency substitute teacher in rural washington state. i love eating wings on wednesdays, like backpacks, dislike mint & chocolate together, and hate a lack of self-awareness.”




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