letter to a first & cleanest love By Nicole Knorr

letter to a first & cleanest love

reaching for your wrist
bird feather, still

every grain of roof
felt; we wanted to

how exciting it was
the warm of you

day & limitless day
scent of summer
so something
i know—

oh mango thrown!
ripe, first smile
chased down drive-
ways, helmet free,
spun sugar ice
held us

raptured water
saw us break
stillness; fill it
with our
sunniest shine

time adorned in
laughter, eternal
girls in their world

of trampoline
springs spent
letters sent to love
we thought missing.

purple’s hue brings
me closer to you

sing green, my oldest
friend; see a leaf—

see a leaf, see a sun
mark its way through;
its prettiest hue results
in me and you

wonder is a god
admired, learned
from your church

dress a ladybug
landed on—you
almost sent her away.
i don’t know that
she wanted to stay,
but i said:
keep her,
a moment,
a day,
in a box
so purple

& we learned a first love
is not your love to keep

our last nights
spent in the back
of a mother’s car

we walked
in light, glow
something so
close. tastable

coming home to you: my
neighbor my sister i loved
to pull your hair and braid it

oldest longing, felt

in my throat where
the word why exists
see it dip down
reaching still—

still, my bare feet on your porch knocking
knocking knocking wanting to come inside
so badly & see my beautiful friend.

By Nicole Knorr

title borrowed from a line in Danez Smith’s poem “how many of us have them?”


I am a composer, pianist, and vocalist based in Jacksonville, Florida. As a composer, I specialize in vocal music and setting poetry. Currently, I’m working towards undergraduate degrees in both Piano and Vocal Performance at the University of North Florida. My affection for poetry runs deep; poetry has become synonymous with music itself, in my eyes.

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