Handprints

Ruins

 

in spain the sand is everywhere everywhere

            powder granules brushing skin

like itching scratching fingers,

                        we are covered

                        in it

dusted in sifted pebbles

                        of it

fine clouds growing

                                    as we walk from the food stand

            crunching

on sand-encrusted churros.

 

at night the moon hangs low

            but we don’t see it

forgotten ruins

remain hidden

                        all covered in sand

                        all covered

 

here everyone drinks estrella damm and cheap vodka

but he prefers jack daniels

            “sip it, don’t chug” he says

            though no one listens

and we, we talk musicals and politics,

we talk books

                        It’s almost

enough             It’s not

enough

 

(I want him to love me but don’t know how to ask)

 

so I dig holes in the sand with my feet

as he winks like the politician he is

                                                            or one day will be

he winks at everyone but

tonight this wink is mine

 

when we look up we see sandstorms of stars

but we never look

 


Sonata

 

I grew up listening to my mother

Her head bobbing with the metronome, fingers

dancing out a Glenn Gould sonata.

 

She loved piano like no other

I knew, and as, each evening, on the keys she lingered,

I grew up listening to my mother.

 

To hear Gould himself stroke keys like a lover,

I fell hard for his amplified breaths and mumbles

dancing out his own sonata.

 

Trying for wings, her words whispered,

An endless track that kept on spinning—

Growing up listening to my mother.

 

Our words trailed off, our eyes downcast

I came home later than I’d promised

And always wanted my own sonata.

 

The music flowed between my fingers

And I thought if I could only follow –

I grew up listening to my mother.

The Ice Skating Lesson

 

When you

were eight,

you learned

how to fall

in a tiny skating rink

enclosed within Prospect Park.

 

Told to

sink

to your

knees,

 

arms extended, palms flat,

wary of the sharp blade

 

your trip

from sky

to ice

was succinct.

 

Still you kept standing up, reaching,

kept setting down the vicious blades,

 

still

you hoped

the air

would hold you

 

between tight-packed molecules,

brushing your pink-tipped nose.

 

You prayed

for gentle

treatment

at winter’s hands.

 

Still you dusted white powder

From knees and gloves

  

closed eyes

until hands

stretched out

awaiting the drop;

 

you are always surprised to learn

that even falling the right way

hurts.

Handprint

 

It appeared the first day like a marking, a signal, a warning:

            A stop sign:

Splashed along my back, where skin was burnt

            to match the siren-red tankini

                        (meant

                        to hide my stomach, in the end hiding nothing

                        from the runaway sun):

                                    the brazen red of an autumn apple.

I hadn’t asked for help applying sunscreen, afraid

            to show signs of weakness

And now my fingers formed lines spiderwebbing

            across enflamed epidermis

                        leaving only a thin white outline           

                        of splayed-out digits along my back, a ghost

            of overexposure, handprint branding

                        burning blushing skin.

 

 

 

Jacqueline Krass
Age 17, Grade 12
Stuyvesant High School
Silver Key

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