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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

After School

“After school”

used to mean

running up the hill

to melodic chimes—

sharing a slushy,

matching blue tongues.

 

My mom always gave me

five more minutes

in the “ducky playground.”

There was a broken duck seat

attached to the ground

with a spring.

I sat on it,

rocking it back and

forth, side to side,

trying to break it

more.

 

My best friend told me secrets

before we slid down

the biggest slide,

and we always liked

the same boys. I hated that

but loved her,

and we wrote bad songs

and stayed up late watching

sad movies.

 

Now “after school” means

401k plans, an unpaid lunch hour,

and early dentist appointments.

Resumes catered to jobs catered

to people catered to me, but

never catered to you.

If you aren’t full time,

you are wasting time,

and there is no time

for you and me

to talk about what we want.

Never say

what a company can do for you.

What can you do for them?

What can you do for me?

 

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The bank lady—I think her name was Betsy,

asked for my number,

as we sat in expensive blue chairs,

sinking in.

“What is the number

to reach you at work?”

 

Paperwork stuck together,

Dry hands,

Repeat the question,

Please.

“What is your work number?”

The rearranged words

felt heavier.

 

“Oh, I— I don’t have one.”

 

I wished it was

all laid out for her,

facts on her computer screen

in a doctor’s office.

“I was laid off.

The company downsized.”

The explanation was

necessary

to set up a bank account,

even though

it really wasn’t.

 

She gave me a sad smile,

as if she knew about

the empty space

I felt in my identity.

 

“If this was an interview,”

she said as I signed where

the x’s were,

“I would hire you.”

 

 

 

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Grad school and relationships

have the same process.

 

You fall in love, even though

you said you wouldn’t

 

when he left you on the stairs

Monday morning,

not even an apology text after.

He didn’t want to give you

a chance,

even after he paid for dinner

and listened to your life story—

 

He pretended he didn’t know

your name.

you became a statistic,

a Facebook friend,

a paper tucked underneath

all the others.

 

You hear about someone

just outside of town.

He is looking for someone—

but you know it can’t be you.

 

No one thinks you have

the right credentials.

You should just find a job

and stay home.

 

You decide to send him a letter

anyways,

 

Almost don’t include the return address.

When rejection is guaranteed

it takes the edge of

the deep-rooted

devastation.

 

He calls you.

Your face buzzes,

a moment packed with

so much—

happy.

Drunk

on the phone’s heat

 

After the first date,

he moves in.

The talk of children—

you lose your appetite

for the left over pizza

in the fridge.

 

You are too tired to make love,

but he doesn’t understand.

he wants to see more of you,

 

He gives you a ring,

and you stay up

flipping through the

wedding magazines,

writing down vendors,

asking your friends what they think.

Their opinions

Their ideas,

Their feedback.

 

You don’t know how you feel

about anything.

 

You don’t remember what it’s like

to have nothing to do,

to have a moment where

you aren’t falling behind.

The date is rolling towards you

like a runaway wheelbarrow.

You don’t know if you should

try to stop it

or run away.

 

But in the middle of the night,

the moon is between

the tree branches

and nothing needs to happen

right now,

 

And you feel him next to you,

stuck in a dream,

But he is suddenly

the most real part

of you.

 

When he turns over in bed—back to you

and you are wide awake,

You trace his spine

with your fingers

and feel his warmth.

It isn’t until then

you realize

you have never loved anything

quite this much.

 

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I look at my hands

like they are digital

and bright

with messages and ads

on them.

 

I don’t feel capable

of nurturing you.

I stare at screens

too much

to pay attention to you.

 

I can’t have free time

when I feel guilty

being mindless.

 

I remember you

but I forget how to

handle you.

I care about you

and don’t care about you

until it is over.

Then you become

something else.

 

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A Note For The Sky

Windshield rain makes me feel
smaller,
as though a dome will always
protect me,
and I can always fit inside
a shell.
I want to feel heavy
with water–
everything darker
on my body–
my hair barely long enough
to be squeezed out.
I do not want shelter from
how I feel about
you.

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3AM lights up my corner of the room,
and I blame the coffee I had
too late,
but I know it’s the buzz of my mind—
My obsession
about grad school,
the programs that I could fit
my soul into,
like clowns cramming into
their car.
I close my eyes and
“MFA” on Google’s search
flashes across my blank slate.
I see a wall of red,
like I looked into the sun.
And I feel unreachable.

I am searching for
a better writer inside
myself.
But I am afraid
of what I want the most—
to show you that I am
more than words.

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You are someone that I’ll miss fast,
before the door shuts.
You have always made me feel like
I have something to say.

You are the inside of a typewriter–
has to be open
for the ink to be changed.
But after,
tucked away and private–
cat-like and half loner.

Your drawers and pockets are filled
with conversation starters
and you collect abandoned hammers
on the side of the road
like they are lost people,
or pieces of yourself.

To me you are not someone who
rides a bike or writes or paints,
teaches, loves life.
The reality of you is not that
obvious.

Fingers, keys, and ink make a deal
to find meaning.
Even with all the noise and mistakes
and quirks
you never stopped.

So I will never
stop.

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