She arrived with two suitcases
one filled with bitter chocolate memories,
the other with yarn in colors
that painted a wild place
with tundra and lavender.
She had never taken a scissor to her hair
I still remember the pain in her eyes:
and inches on the floor.
Her eyes were wide and flat like moonstone,
with shadows cast over them
that probed into your deep dark spots
and boneless soft places.
She loved barbecues
and wearing shorts
that were calm
from the surface but full of
broken fragments underneath.
She fit enough bracelets on each arm
to cover bruises:
her own dark spots
that she didn’t want our
kaleidoscope eyes to see
because she knew our understanding would splinter
into questions and past.
She knew that all of us possessed these dark things
but we could ignore them:
held tight in the internal niches where they could fester
without being seen
laced by white bones
beneath a layer of skin,
crisp as unbroken ice
smooth as wrapping paper.
I like to remember her
in a perpetual summer
delighted that her skin
if it was warm enough.
Gliding under silt layers
each peeling away like a scab until she rested on the moss-bottom
so close that she could hear the lake moving and shifting
her body freckled with the shadows of intertwining reeds.
I remember you
washes of watercolor blues and greens
moths in the night
wine-dark velvety wings testing the air in quick flurries of movement
the slippery smell of chamomile at the edges like a sigh
dreams sewn of netting and silk and worn oyster cotton,
found in a trunk with brass handles.
And I remember
the woman with hair like frayed fabric
and the dragonfly drawn with emerald ink
in a flit above her ear.
And I remember
we searched and found shattered things
and turned them into talismans.
When I come back
sepia leaves carpet the ground
I missed apple-picking season
but I’m happy to see you anyway
The color blue
stretches into every corner.
Eva Johnson, Age 14, Grade 9, Hunter College High School, Gold Key