Madison Rowan Taylor


summer greets me as an old lover
stumbling awkwardly through 
catch-up conversation—
all the ease of familiarity
is long gone.
she endeavors to reclaim it:
“hey, remember when—?”
but the thrill falls flat
as week-old cola.
she’s the same, yet different;
as golden as the old days,
her eyes still blazing sunsets,
though her burnished skin	
has dulled with time.

we fumble through the motions,
but we know 
it’s not the same.
in desperation,
she kisses me 
and the sweet-tart tang
of pink lemonade is on my tongue,
runs a river of liquid august 
down my throat— 
and i’m ten again,
back when mama mixed up 
pink kool-aid powder 
with two full cups of sugar
in her favorite water pitcher
and called it lemonade.

those days, mama would kiss
my grazed knees each time
I flew too close to the sun by 
jumping off the old tire swing
that she hung from her willow tree.
but the branch no longer 
holds my weight,
and mama hasn’t kissed my cuts
in at least six summers.
these days, i stick a band-aid 
over my own scrapes 
like a good grown-up,
but they just don’t heal 
quite right.

the lemonade on summer’s lips
is suddenly too sour;
she leaves a bitter taste 
in my mouth.
her kiss no longer satisfies 
the craving in my gut
for the sweetness of before.
we hug good-bye,
make empty promises 
to meet up again soon,
but her touch is cold
and i feel the chill
of autumn in my lungs.

Madison Rowan Taylor is a senior at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. They will graduate this May with a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and they hope to pursue a career in writing novels with a special focus on magical realism. When they’re not writing, Madison enjoys walking their dog Finn or reading poetry by Emily Dickinson. The Albion Review marks Madison’s first official publication, and they would like to thank their mentor Thor Mednick and their sister Shelby Linenkugel for their continued love and support.

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