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Grace Novarr

The Kiss

     after staring at a painting for an hour

There is a Klimt painting that’s called The Kiss. The things

that people do to feel close to each other –– like adopting

a new coffee order –– the way Klimt paints, all shapes

that aren’t shapes –– this brief snowstorm, the polar vortex

and its remnants all over our trees –– an edited photograph

on the wall of a rose rising like a sun over the ocean –– this

gold January and the misery drifting through –– the things

I did to feel far away from you.

                                How we are all the same, although

some of us are addicts and some of us are lonely –– still,

finding each other with every glance –– the way someone’s

eyes look the same when they are laughing and when they

are in love –– how cruelty is more fun than tenderness ––

but we don’t want fun, we want something that curls our

souls like fists at night–– your hands the warm thing ––

my eyes welling up again –– my body is a soft shelter for

sadness –– you make my loneliness

                                uncomfortable, for once. This city

has never depressed me –– but it depresses some –– slow

mornings like sleep, but the eyes are all open, glancing ––

today a woman said good morning to me –– kindness is

shocking –– like a blast of heat on a cold body –– like feeling

your heart unfurl at long last –– like the way Klimt must have felt

in that fatal instant when he was kissed.


Grace Novarr is a 16-year-old poet from New York City. She has received three Gold Metals in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and been published in and interviewed for Body Without Organs Literary Journal. She is the editor-in-chief of Argus, the literary magazine at Hunter College High School. In addition to writing, she enjoys drawing, being witty on the Internet, and plotting a future dog ownership.

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