Emily and Sappho


I exist far too often in public

to make you proud.


One of you is more fantasy

than ash and no one knows who.


You persist through my favorite words,

yellowed stationary and collapsing ink.


I do not know

if you ever existed.


How your feet padded across the cold stone

whether flowers bloomed in your window.


Your parchment feels like some ancient owl

with no nest left behind.


Where did your attic go and

how did it crumble?


I hope it went as you may have lived—

wooden beams, then a passing sigh.


Heard like air moving

sometimes a whistle, but mostly

not there at all.

AVA SERRA is a queer woman who strives to highlight underrepresented identities in her art. Aside from her writing projects, she recently completed her degree in Environmental Science at Northwestern University. Since her introduction to poetry in 2016, her work has been featured in Nailed, Northwestern University’s French & Italian publication Rosa La Rose, POSTSCRIPT (2018 & 2019), Sonder Midwest Review, and Lavender Review. She has also received an honorable mention and performed as a finalist in the 2018 and 2019 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards in Chicago, where she dwells and frequently performs. More information about Ava and her work can be found via her website (avaserra.com) or her Facebook page (@avajserra).