“The Pleasures of Ruin” by Maya Jewell Zeller

Willow Springs issue 79 cover shows photo of a pink dress against a concrete background.

Found in Willow Springs 79

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is one of the easiest kinds

of pleasure. Take this stack


of colored blocks built


by one child, rectangular green

on a red square with a yellow


triangle on top: crash,


the younger child comes

like a storm into a picnic,


like a story. Now someone


wants something to put

in the mouth: a small fruit,


perhaps, like a plum or just


the branches of a plum,

gathered into some girl's


arms. Now something


cannot be had. Oh, dear, and

some whole trees, and some more


trees, and water, oh, a baby,


or a lost job. A hangnail, a day

moon. A bowl of oranges,


molding. And the most acute


pleasure of some girl losing

her flowers in the stream,


she throws in those white stars


one by one, even the stems,

even the leafage,


the unopened ones, too,


she can hardly wait to forget them,

to begin the whole thing over.

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