To Touch the Universe

She wanted to taste the world with her fingertips;
touch it with the pupils of her eyes and
the tips of her ears. She wanted to
count time in pages and
write love songs with gunshots
heard on the underside of the world.

Her hair was the color of poetry,
her voice the sound of violets.
When she ran, the earth sweat;
when she slept, the moon quaked.

She could feel passion with the hairs on her arm, —
right, not left— but
she did not know the sound of daffodils.
Her heart beat in iambic pentameter but
her heels clicked to the rhythm of June.

To see her was to press your nose
against the scuffed window of her
crystal skin and fog
the glass with your exhale.

To touch her was to sweep
dew off the treble clefs and sing
in a key of footsteps.

To taste her was to run your knuckles
up a sheet of velvet and reveal
the prickly side of her soft skin.

To hear her was to glimpse inside
a clotted artery lined with confetti and bursting
with shards of sky.

To smell her was to hold
the pounding chest of a ribcage crammed with
anger dark as day.

She said the world was but shadow;
and if that’s so, I suppose
she has finally touched the universe.

Lauren Feiner, Age 17, Grade 12, Bronx High School of Science, Gold Key

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