Writing Portfolio- Kathryn Jagai Age 17 Grade 12, Hunter College High School, Gold Key

Dear Saint Nicholas

Carroll
got lost in tickets and turnstiles
on cloudy days – the wind
stole warmth from pink cheeks when
a laugh burst through and sucked out the marrow –
breath replaced with thick taste, winter
rain wishing to be snow.

Smith
watched wind steal secrets
from chapped, tremblehands, and
Mother always said
hold ’em close to heart, said
the cold seeps in through scar
tissue, so watch frozen soul for little cracks,
watch the train ticket fly
with brokechild sorrow.

Prospect
never looked warm, always pushing snow
out of the nooks
and crannies – pushed
girl into pond and watched sweet face form
into openpale “O”. Said
cared too much to hurt a lovely – got stuck
in the dumb-luck trust of her eyes.

Church
never a good place to rest, always
rolling, cracked stone. Used to think
life was good
for something before faith
dried up and died. Now
just sit here, scribbling sins to St. Nick, wondering
who to confess to – the page
or God?

Kings
never know the why, only
what is wanted: too-high aspirations
calling on angels to bring head in
from silver-strung clouds. Said
would never act the arrogant arse,
but here it is; riding metal cars
scoffing at tourists like all of it
is owned by one.

Neptune
used to be in control of all
the chaos, waves of guilt. Used to think
holidays were family, but nothing
is ever planned, just one fish –
two fish – in all this sea, and maybe
no one likes a control freak
anyway

West
is where the sun sets
the end? Or maybe shit just happens and
we fail at trying to find meaning in a loop
back around, start over
at the beginning – wetlost. Get lost
Holiday Blues.

Under the Mansard

I dreamt of your eyes

which is a platitude, but
I also dreamt the sky was burning, caught
in a gaslight epidemic, their
humble bishop crooks unbent, necks
turned upwards as though God had come
to return their broken pride, and

I woke up and the sun was shining
subdued by lacepale clouds, yet ever optimistic
in its infinite power, and I thought
of your sigh when my head hits your shoulder, like
the expectant silence at the end of an alley
as though the worst is over
as though, somehow, it’s safe, as if
in the light the feral can’t creep, can’t
steal your heart up out of your throat.

I watch
you shuffle down the block, because I
can’t avoid that look;
you flash it whenever you leave, and
you look up the stairs, the way you look at me,
the way you looked when the sky was afire – and
the cocky grin, and the depth of your silence
and the way you drive me mad –

You flash that look the way cops flash their badges
and I’d swear your posture was perfect, but then
you always bend down to listen when I whisper
or sip tears before they spill.

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