the only time someone loved me
was last year
until his feelings overwhelmed
his slim limbs,
he crumbled and crumpled under the burden
emotions small and nimble, crawling up and pouring out
he suffocated and that scared me so
now i miss the crawlies and the crazy
because they meant
i knew someone cared if my own innards
if anything, dirt is pure
not much can be claimed with conviction
but dirt is most certainly pure
a child dances with the earth
dirties her white sunday best
angry words; now she is unclean
i don’t want to be dirty
ten years later, homecoming to the soil
she is naked, offering herself
to the purity below her milky curves
penitence bubbles below her skin
and itches, leaving red welts
passerby pass but don’t see her anguish
she takes nails to skin
peels away the film but goes too far
and rips off her own flesh, forging a seam down her side
happy; i am finally clean
but little does she realize
this confirmation of her belief from the start:
pure things are left untouched.
A Tree trunk housed two Spirits young –
Congruent to the Eye –
Yet one concealed gnarled, bristling Roots
While Mother’s Belov’d was sublime –
Sunlight bowed and Rain bestowed
New breath and breadth to both.
Divinity – hence bound by Will,
Enlightenment driving growth –
when I looked at the water running over my flesh
I expected to see blood
I wanted scarlet-tinted, emulsified evidence
i. of my pain
ii. that I was alive
or at least dirt – anything but the clear purity of cleanliness.
so instead, I scrubbed my skin raw and peeling with a loofah,
crying diamonds for hours-turning-into-days,
but I was still blackened by soot.
it’s funny how our generation – generation z – can’t communicate
i. hashtags and chatspeak replace uninhibited emotion – fire
ii. transcribing a sentence in cursive is the hardest part of the SAT
so when He sent me that text
do u wanna come upstairs
my face flushed. it was His eighteenth birthday, three years out of reach –
He was accepted to Yale and I had yet to start geometry –
He had red lips that I recognized from photographs
and hair that gradated to blonde where it swooped across His eyes.
I knew Him –
on Facebook –
but He was unfamiliar,
donning Adonis’ hollowed shell,
and His jagged rib prodded my pudge
and He devoured me as I lay comatose,
thinking that I was still hungry at midnight.
I basked in his long-sought acknowledgement
and fleeting popularity
and raisin toes and raw, soapy skin
nakedness reaping regret – awareness –
only blossoming into empowerment
because of you.
when we were little, you said you wanted to be a good guy
a hero who would have his own book –
maybe a picture book –
Clarence Darrow, you said, jamming a chubby finger into my shoulder blade
(I think we were reading Inherit the Wind).
though wise of heart, your chubby physique had yet to endure hollowing trial.
I sank into my pew at the back of the courthouse, the penultimate row
engraved with a tiny gold plaque, C. Finch
and my sweaty thighs stuck to splintered wood
as I examined you in your entirety
get slandered by divorce, breakups, rejections, and sickness.
your eyes never stopped smiling.
and last thursday I brought you a cupcake.
this summer you staged impromptu street theater in new york city –
commanding twenty eight-year-olds, respect glittering in their naïve eyes.
the troops prophesied impending doom, shouting heresy to the streets, and
passerby stopped short –
businessmen, Hispanic nannies, NYU hipsters with hair curling past their asses –
all wed by a hodgepodge of fear and vulgar glee
until cynics – heretics – caught on and your unit scrambled in desertion
but you only laughed until you doubled over against the curb.
to me, you are 2 am stake-outs,
blankets and hot chocolate on the benches between broadway and 104
and words whispered, fears howled
to the rag-devoured mass next to the gay couple across the street.
you call me and we talk for hours
even when I know I have two term papers and a test, compositions and scales,
because I like how your voice squeaks when you’re happy
and your raspy breaths when you think of the future.
we are a homeostatic cliché,
two things harmonized in raw unadulterated consonant unity.
once, I traced my callused fingertips
across your heartstrings; I tugged but refused to grab on.
your fingers clenched my wrist in a vice –
you are my vice –
as the crinkles around your eyes pleaded.
but instead I slept
to protect the entropy of the world.
Age 16, Grade 11
Hunter College High School