on an august night, i learn how to live
i am running in the pale dark wood where no one knows my name
the thin bitter juice of a blood orange seeps out,
pooling on the ground under the glow from a street lamp.
it’s light I could splash around in, make a real scene;
newly seventeen and dancing on a knife’s edge,
chafed skin on my bare feet giving way to blood.
i am seventeen, and the world is illuminated in bold,
chemiluminescent flashes of pink and gold,
or maybe that’s just the way the block looks under the setting sun.
i’m enough of a romantic not to bother with the difference,
to watch the deer in headlights with admiration until the car lurches forward.
this city is built on graves, but which ones?
this forest is watered by grief, but whose is it?
all I know is that the dogs are surging to divide the body,
and it’s going to look like a ritual until the flesh is exposed.
nothing’s serious, you know, and i can drop the ball of yarn
halfway through the maze only to return with the manticore on a leash,
smiling broader than i have any right to in the face of ariadne’s disdain.
everyone wants the credit. everyone’s keeping score.
no one is paying attention to the stones skipping in patches of moonlight
beneath my window, propelled by immovable waves.
i am seventeen spitting watermelon seeds in the wreckage of my past.
a boy wandering through the titanic comes up and asks how i survived,
to which i giggle and explain that it’s only him who died.
and I canter in the selfish sweet starlight,
those long-dead emissions gleaming back,
part of your life as much as the girl slumped beside you in biology
whose thin rivulets of drool drip down her arm to your desk.
i am running in the pale dark wood where no one knows my name,
propelled by vanity and a prayer for glory and sheer dumb luck,
i am a doe with no need for careless vulgarity,
prancing between the golden rectangles from other people’s windows
and the sharp delineations where pointless meets profound.
i linger in my life: what else is there to do?
trading in ballet shoes for shimmering antiques, for days at the docks.
my hair flies unctuous in the wind, unburdened, so young and so green.
ruin beckons, her tendril-like fingers reaching out over the horizon,
and i, the senseless saint, the doe faced with the glare of the machine,
i stand, hand on my wretched heart (hand on my wretched heart)
and walk in.
oh my god this is incredible!! you are so very talented. what a moving poem, i truly believe you have a bright writing career awaiting you!!