Your breath of sweet and sour, I can smell it in the air. It serves as a substitute for perfume you don't wear. There are geraniums in a child-size stadium on my block, and from this room with you I want so badly to take a walk. You can keep your head of hair, I only want a lock. Won't you come and see these clovers, Ellen O'Dauver?

We watch the children stare at us with eyes so glazed, like deer caught in headlights. Wood chips and rocks will be raised and placed in their mouths. Their moms soon shout, but quietly, and as we sit I am so glad you chose to walk with me. When you watch their faces I wonder what it is you see. Oh Ellen, Ellen dear, the sky's cleared.

Now on my porch, you're telling me about the time your sister called you down to dinner but did it in pantomime. You didn't hear it. She didn't clear it with your eardrums first. Your mom got angry, you got blamed — it was the worst. Ellen, when I'm with you, I think I need a nurse, because the cat has got my tongue and I am bee-stung.

After you left I accepted cleaning as my fate, but first I paused to plunder the potatoes left upon your plate. I thought about the movers, Ms. Vancouver, and how they ever fit all of the stuff you carried away from your Aunt Margaret. And oh, I can't speak for them, but as for myself, I may have laughed a bit as I imagined the arrangement of your estate — man, I can't wait.

Back in this room, I sit alone with sweet and sour still permeating the space around this tiny shelving tower. Ellen O'Dauver, I eat leftovers and mourn while you're away, practicing these crooked scripts of what I might say. My lungs rise and fall, unnoticed like these games we play. I wish that you would come over and breathe here every day.


Lyrics submitted by delial

Ellen O'Dauver song meanings
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