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Rolling Papers by Audrey El-Osta

it was papercraft + origami,
it was incensory + aromatic.
You made an art of it
when you taught me how
to roll my cigarettes in the park.

Pinch it, hold the tip, lick, twist and roll,
smooth it out –
now it’s perfect
breathe, suck in, time now
even though it looks too good
to set a flame to.

So you taught me that
beauty is temporary.
you made an art of it
when you taught me
to accept that even the pretty things

like me?
like you.

will all turn to ash someday.

That’ll never take the fear away
but damn, doesn’t it make the world
just a little bit more beautiful?
You made an art of it
when you taught me
this was how to die.


about the author:

Audrey El-Osta is a Melbourne based writer, studying Linguistics and Psychology at Monash University. A collector of cookbooks, listener of audiobooks and reader of poetry, she lives with four cats and three humans that don’t quite measure up. Her work explores themes of femininity, sexuality and womanhood, mental illness, comedy and identity, and has been previously published in Danse Macabre and Poetry D’Amour by WA Poets.