Danielle Notaro

Danielle Notaro

Song for Swan Elias

There was a girl named Swan Elias. I don’t remember what grade she turned up in. She was overweight, nice and sweet, and had blue, cool blue eyes and light, wavy brown hair. I would watch her erase her paper. It seemed her hand and the eraser were made of the same

textures, gummy soft. And warm. It seemed she could erase her paper or incorrect markings so effortlessly.

Because there was, in my mind, this special oneness between her hand and the eraser. A certain chemical reaction which made the eraser really malleable.

Sometimes, when maybe I erased, I erased too hard and could leave a mark. A streak. But she could erase really cleanly. Leaving no tell-tale sign. Not that it mattered.

We were allowed to erase. But it was a kind of magic she possessed and performed and for some mysterious reason it caught my attention. I would become transfixed and allured by her head turning toward me with what I now imagine to be a seductive and sweet smile while she worked her wonder. I wonder if she was doing something to my heart and mind in that moment. Hypnotizing me slowly, warmly, and softening my heart, relaxing my zaniness, and releasing my uncontrollable urge to please. It was like a you can be near me look she gave, and back off a little and watch. You can swim in my electrical, star spinning aura. All those things kids, we kids were attracted to. Sparkles, bangles, gold, magenta, azure, rainbow colors

of glitter swirling in Swan Elias’ aura while she smiled at me. And I swirled with them. I was them for that moment and then would land in a pure stream of milky colored happiness.                                      

Blue eyes, plump, warm hand. Clean white paper. Pink eraser. Charcoal pencil shaped to a fine point. A cylindrical hive of possibility humming at the tip. A cylindrical hive of possibility humming into a fine point. Shavings and curls of shavings resting sweetly in a metal canister—future beehives. No, future bird nests.

And I swear, I think Swan Elias wore a headband with birds and baby birds hatching from their nests. Her clothes are in my mind now brushed into a fine velvet.

Everything was fine about her. Her sweat beads, her chewed lips. She was good enough to eat. I must have been in love with her, though I didn’t know it. Her big, strong marks of letters, cursive on her paper. Her wrong answers. All of it was acceptable to me. All of her. All of Swan Elias acceptable to me. Swan Elias and her golden heart.


Orange Slice Ships


I did something delightful.

I poured water

into the kitchen sink.

I stopped up the water

so it filled

the silver basin.

I didn’t put soap in it

or dishes or a baby

or anything like that.


I ate an orange.

I didn’t vomit

in the sink.

I ate an orange.

I put the orange rind slices

in the shape of canoes

and row boats

in the water.

That’s what I did.

The cat

and me.

I hopped up onto the counter

to watch, watching them

floating—I didn’t think of it

then; now that I do—I was

on there, too, sailing home.

More than the orange rinds

shifting against the clear

water, the fragrance of orange blossoms in my memory.

I was going to Japan

or Florida or California

traveling the earth’s waterways,

my waterways

to get to the home

of the first orange.

I don’t know why

that’s so important—

first, second—they are

all first—really.




I wanted to hear that song.

The song of the siren waters

curling around those orange slice

ships—around my intelligence

and ignorance and fear.

I wanted to be left alone

and loved for exactly the woman I am,

who I am.

Since I could not have woods,

animals, wilderness,

economic, social, or political power,

I would journey on these real rinds

to the power center of my


I would unfurl

my gifts to everyone.

I would place myself on one skiff

and ghosts of myself on the nine or ten

others, thereby deceiving my opponent.                   

I would live royally.                                                       

A queen I would be

sailing my ship through

clear waters—in the dark.

The moon, morning star

in my hand, my beacons.

I would live again and again.

I would grow to the other

side of the paradisal shore

where my love and loved ones

greet me.



Danielle Notaro is the author of “Limn The Mask”and a talented performer and actor who has been a part of the local arts community for decades.