The Elysian Muse



Ernie Westernwille

Written by Praniti Gulyani


Ernie Westernwille –
He was a boy, or rather my classmate
in room number 3B, in the colorful part of the school
that was covered in posters and glue and stickers
reserved exclusively for third grade
he’d wear grey pants, a greyer shirt
and white shoes, more black than white
and his hair was snipped
along the edges, like a bush trimmed
by a gardener, with uncertain hands
he’d have bruised palms –
which he’d keep dabbing with leaves
and refuse to allow the school nurse
to apply antiseptic, he’d say, he doesn’t want
this sticky, sickly, city medicine
his notebook pages were a deep, husky yellow
his turmeric fingerprints overpowering the algebra
engulfing the coefficient and variable
and in literature, he’d write poetry
his lines curving and curling like a wild creeper
that reaches out, and winds itself
around a bit of sky
strangulating it, so much so –
that it squeezes out the blue
in biology, he’d describe birds with purple feathers
and crimson beaks, and say that he’d once caught a snake
who was sprinkled with real diamond and gold
and on Christmas, when the school
would take us to the church, and position us before
the Giving Tree, and ask us to write
on scraps of felt-tip paper
one thing, we really, really wanted
Leslie Norris would look at the paper
spin it around, and marvel at the way
the glitter rubbed off on his fingers
and when he’d see, that all of us
were thinking and writing, he’d secretly write
that the only thing
he really, really wanted
was a father





Praniti Gulyani is a seventeen year old from India. On The Elysian Muse, she has contributed her works: "My First Day of School", "All the Things I've Learnt From a Shooting Star", and "Ernie Westernwille".