Jul 28

I was okay until then

I was okay until then.

I had carefully chosen my outfit,
being sure that it flattered my waist,
being very careful to make sure 
no one looked at me and unconsciously thought
oh, she's fat. 

I tied my hair back with a silk scarf,
a bright pink bow on the back of my head. 
My sneakers balanced it out,
and as I looked at myself in the mirror before leaving,
I smiled. 

I was okay until then.

Driving into town felt similar to what I would imagine
charging into battle would feel like. 
I prayed the whole way, 
my hands gripped tight on the wheel.

And then the ceremony, of course. 
It was as expected, the same traditions, the same nonsense. 
I stared above everyone's heads most of the time. 

I was okay until then.

But then for some reason we were all sitting on the edge of the stage,
we had gotten up from our seats and we were sitting,
Feb 13

Happy Valentine's Day

It was a cloudy, melty Valentine's Day.
The snow was slipping off the sidewalks and cars
like drippy vanilla ice cream,
making a mess of everyone's shoes. 

Well, you and I
we were pretty in love.
I'm surprised I can recall the weather now,
since I didn't seem to be paying attention to anything other than you,
back then. 

You gave me handmade chocolate truffles,
heart-shaped and thick and dark,
neatly packaged in a clear container. 

A recycled rosé-lemonade glass bottle,
wrapped in crinkly white tissue,
held four beautiful lilies. 
They were a little droopy from the heat of the day,
but I didn't mind. 

Two months later I threw the rosé-lemonade bottle into the recycling,
the sound of the hard glass bouncing off the sides of the large bin. 
It was becoming spring, 
but the air still bit my skin as I reached back into the container,
Jan 10

Hearts and Mustard

"The doctor said his artery...oh hon, did he say artery or valve...?"

My grandfather, who is sitting directly next to my grandmother, shrugs as he takes a monstrous bite out of his Whopper. 
The thin paper rattles in his hands as a spurt of mustard decisively takes residence on his upper lip. 
He chews as my grandmother continues her story, turning her body towards my mother and I. 

"Anyway, the doctor said his artery, or valve, was shaped like a heart, now isn't that just beautiful?"

I smile, because I'm looking at the mustard. Yes, it is beautiful, grandma. Very beautiful. 

Dec 18

I knew it was right

Okay so I love my mom and 
I'm proud of my family and
I adore my best friend and
I have this house that I call home and 
my cat, oh he's the sweetest and
even the cracks in the ceiling at my school are familiar and
I know the noises the stairs will make when I walk up them 
here's the thing. 

When we were driving really fast
in that black Uber car
away from New York City,
everything that I knew started to melt and 
for some reason,
this feeling in my chest rose up
and I knew it was right. 

I think I knew it all along. 
Dec 18

Letting it Slide

I felt more important than I should have,
but I was weating my blue suit and
I felt like the next freaking president of the United States
so I let it slide. 

We walked into the Starbucks and
ordered the sweetest drinks on the menu,
you know, 
the holiday ones with the pretty paper to-go cups. 

We also asked for whipped cream 
but  then we couldn't find a seat
until a man got up and walked off with his laptop. 

We quickly sat down and our drinks were suddenly at our lips, 
and I grimiced because my sweet, rich drink wasn't 
sweet at all. 

It was bitter, but then again even the air tasted bitter.
So I let it slide. 

Dec 09

Me and MLK

The day is bloated with heat and
the air is buzzing with voices.

I stand with my arms close to my sides
while bodies brush past me,
some nodding as they pass by me.

I am a rock,
watching the stream pass over me.

Behind me folks are beginning to take off their shoes
as they slip their worn feet into the coolness of the pool.

I look down at my own feet, dusty from the walk
just when a booming voice begins to speak.
My legs nearly cave;
his voice floats above the massive crowd
in which I am only a tiny speck,
but still a piece nonetheless.

Every voice is quieted,
every ear is turned to listen,
every eye looks forward toward those steps,
and the air becomes solid with anticipation.
We wait for his voice again.

Finally, it comes.

And when it comes,
I hear a voice worth listening to.
Aug 09

Clean Ultra Fresh Lemon Scented Dish Soap

Let's face it, we've all been there. 
The dying urge to relieve your bladder must come first
even if it means using a God-forsaken gas station bathroom to do so. 

I told my dad to stand guard outside the flimsy door,
that surprisingly didn't lock. 

I shut the door and came face to face with what a small glimpse of Hell might look like. 
Floor to ceiling tiles, covered in years of foreign substances
only one can imagine what might be.

I didn't inhale through my nose,
although that made me wonder if I could then taste the smell,
so I went back to breathing through my nostrils. 

I did my business, quick as could be
and approach the cracked sink in the corner of the small closet. 

I looked around for the soap dispenser and came up with nothing. 
Then I noticed it. 

I kind of laughed, although laughing required breathing normally,
Aug 09

17-year-old Thoughts on a Thursday Morning

I'm making jam at 8:30 in the morning,
a humid, rainy morning. 

I wonder if this isn't Vermont,
and instead, everyone's been fooling me;
I must be in Florida. 

I look over my shoulder and
see a hummingbird drinking from that fake red flower we put up
and worry if the fox is near the chickens,
who cluck blissfully in their pen. 

I wonder if next year I'll be New York City,
grabbing coffee in a crowded bakery with steamy windows. 

Or taking a stroll around the quiet streets of Santa Barbara, 
my hair getting lighter the longer I stay in the sun.

Or watching the leaves slowly turn gold,
as I take a bus into Boston for an escape of theater and gardens.

Or maybe I'll be in Colorado,
skiing...which I haven't done in years. 

I could be anywhere.

It's an exciting time to be alive, isn't it?

Aug 02

The Voice of the Queen of England

I reminded myself to smile as I greeted the older couple
as they slowly walked through the restaurant's main entrance,
one foot sluggishly following the other. 

The Mrs. led the way, spry in her white tracksuit
almost as white as her neat clipped hair. 
Her thin, fluorescent pink lips parted to reveal surprisingly white teeth
coming in close second to her blinding attire. 
They probably weren't hers
 but when you're old I think you should be able to do whatever you please. 

Her husband was close on her heels, just a few steps slower. 
His bushy eyebrows reminded me of twisted iron
that moved and jumped in reaction to the scenes before them. 
His tweed cap was slightly askew
and I felt a little squeeze of sympathy for the aging couple. 

"Would you prefer inside or outside?" I said dutifully, trying to think of the closest possible table I could get them to. 
The wife answered promptly,