Best Friends

I.
She exhales smoke and inhales sky.
Milky ringlets and soft clouds.
I’m reminded of winter
when I felt like a dragon.

And even though I have yet to fly,
I could swear my skin is scabbed with scales.

‘You’re an outsider’, she tells me.
I lie spread-eagle in the hot, stale grass.

II.
Wearing out my skin against these rough summer days and hiding
the scars beneath my pretty.

I drown in the gaze of strangers
as if I were built for this park.

My waist has shrunk and friends slip on and off like
belts or hospital bracelets.

I am always retracing your steps
collecting the jackets and purses and litter
you leave behind like a breadcrumb trail.

Still, habits are hard to break and
I’m in love with the hope that sinks
beneath your wisdom like a corpse.

Annie Loucka
Age 15, Grade 10
Bard High School Early College
Silver Key

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