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.
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.
Age 15, Grade 10
Bard High School Early College