Writing Portfolio- Nora Miller, Age 17, Grade 12, Urban Academy Laboratory High School, Gold Key

nomenclature part 1.

the thing inside the thing

there is a thing
inside of this thing.

a sparrow swelling
beneath my air conditioner.
brick seizure spelled out in dull light,
the construction of a chord.

you know, they’re actually
called finches, those little city birds.
they aren’t sparrows. a biologist told me that.
I don’t believe her.

what makes us whole? what makes
a name a name?

I queried the pills on my mirror. and
later would ask the foggy straw.

and later would ask my own shaking hands,
blood on a tissue subtracting me yellow.

the bruised elbows, the candid
trees. what it took to make you listen.

arms and arms and arms
full of tiny pink burns.

are you paler
than you were before?

if sweat could hold answers I
would suck you dry.

the sparrow resigns itself to finch.
the thing
submits itself to
the thing.

age of wonder

electricity on a porch swing at dusk
the fireflies would light gold on the wilting field

behind your house, the hills sang, made me want to
run and spread abandon from the palms of my hands.

at night with the crickets I could hear our
fingertips colliding like molecules

the weight of ages pressed into your collarbone
snowstorms running taxis blindly–countryside

and I was feeble beneath the sheets we hung
to feel safe with ourselves, a caught breath

a crocheted doll you sent me, it sits now by the window
of my room in the city quiet and gold while everything

else feels massive and beating, a pulse in
a finger-lit sky erupting with stars.

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