Almonds by Olivia M Sokolowski

For stretches of my life time hurt and kept
hurting, blind like kittens or blood
lazy-rivering through the knees, the knuckles.

All day I laid in bed and ate crackers
with pressed rosemary and shards of almonds,
their milky slates like little parted mouths.

We flatter the days to call them discrete.
In our fingers they are almonds and more
almonds, huge and sliding sweet inside their context––

handful in a midnight kitchen, cake-sunk,
confetti beneath a wide-brimmed hat
while the horses run and run. They run until

their legs become brown fan-palms, then time, then
the taste of almonds. That brassy snatch
of amaretto like the shade of a marmot’s den,

Marie and Tonio in their infinite
alpine heaven singing “ne sait pas se défendre”,
there is no defense… So yes time hurt

but took its seeds with greediness. It takes
one gallon of water to grow a single
almond and I like to imagine that water

passing over the frantic hands of California
strangers, their luscious heads alike. They kiss
wetly in the shower after running past

those senseless groves. All of this encapsulated
like the last light on Versailles in July I once held
embroidered in the hoop of each iris. Today

I wanted to write about hurt, came to the point
and pivoted. Tear-shaped. My darling’s name
is the brilliant almond losing its skin

in my mouth. I say time hurt but time
gave me ten knuckles to kiss and kiss, ever-
moving. I can only grasp at their installments.

Olivia M Sokolowski is a poet currently pursuing her PhD and teaching at Florida State University. She holds degrees from University of North Carolina Wilmington and Berry College, and her work is recently featured or forthcoming in Lake Effect, Gulf Coast, and Nelle. You can also find Olivia streaming at