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Longer than Night Anyhow
juliana roth

I look at your body, sharing the moonlight

and all the life the moon’s glow cannot fuel

between our skin. Like plants, we need sun


to open.


In Norway, villagers six months without sun

install mirrors against cold mountains, capturing

warmth on their faces. Thermocline phytoplankton stretch through water for photons, wanting

what’s already around them. Can they see possibility?


Plant leaves fold into themselves at night

not wanting to depend on fractures of light —

or is it just me hovered over a notebook 

hopeful I’ve done enough to float / freely 

into the bloom of my heart? Wild olives 


produce millions of flowers, but few blossom

to swell in spiced oil. Six months without sunlight 

seems a vulnerable dedication. Is that love?


More sap moves through trees as the moon

waxes, slows as it wanes. What goes 

unseen: the moon is 15% as strong as sun —


light! Olive leaves do all they can to hold

what water reaches them. Maybe love is closer

to photosynthesis. Pulling molecules center,

saying it’s biology to want to organize together,

or me again interpreting dawn into need


and yet olive trees stay green all year —


and yet there are a few ripe fruit —


and the sunlit mirrors warm who wait beside them. 


and then it is spring.

A multi-genre writer and educator, Juliana Roth is the creator of the web series, The University, which follows the bureaucratic failures of a university in the aftermath of a sexual assault on campus. Essays, poetry, and stories by Juliana have appeared or are forthcoming in Entropy, VIDA Review, Irish Pages, The Atticus Review, Reckoning, Yemassee, among other publications.

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