The Works of Molly Elizabeth Fels

Molly Elizabeth Fels is a medical student from New York City. She is at work on a novel, and her poetry is also forthcoming in the inaugural issue of Thirteen Ways Magazine. She can be reached on twitter @mzfels.

All Poems © Molly Elizabeth Fels

The Lotus Eaters


I will never know what I am supposed to say when

you ask me if I think that you are

anything more than your neurons, or muscles.

It’s true that I have on what might look like

the white robe of prayer

that the lotus-eaters are wearing

when they wade into the river.

But you seem to think there is more that

I am not saying

when I bring you these cups of water

with straws in them so you don’t have to 

lift your head from where it hangs

with your chin touching your chest.

Sure. I suppose it’s an offering.

I see the women lifting water in their cupped hands

when they have shed their robes and when

they shear their hair, and let it float away in the current.

I could pray with them, too

though my soul

could be cleaner.


Yesterday, I gathered the rest

of the flowers you gave me

and walked them down to the river

where they will wait for you,

if you are ever coming back.

My hands are not practiced at stillness

they worry the stems


the leaves

shedding pollen as I walk, my dress

from last year and the year before, short now at the knees.

At least the hem

won't get wet

when we wade in.


We used to throw breadcrumbs to ducks here;

we never thought of the waste.


Today, I turned up the soil in the garden.

This year we are using the roses for compost, so

we can grow food instead.

We are hungry, and I've lost interest

in picking off the petals one by one, as if they knew.