She sat on the wooden bench
Her rain boots dangling
She looked at me for an explanation
So much grief
devastation in a pink rain coat
“Do you want to play with me, Haley?”
I felt smaller than her
Patronizing and empty
I hope she didn’t feel that too
“No” she said.
Her eyes pooled and I drowned
Looking at her for a feeling I could discuss
We are both gasping for air.
Her mom comes
Looking better than I expected
But I’ve never been on a first name basis with it
The closest I’ve been is pink ribbons and commercials
I ask her how she’s feeling
Afraid to pry
Afraid to seem careless
They walk out of the classroom
And I stay on the bench with that little girl
Longer than I mean to.
Look like something I could float on
And when u laugh
That dimple winks at me
As if it knows I’m waiting for it
And if I’m close enough
I can hear your heartbeat
A rhythmic melody
A Smooth and consistent lullaby.
And your hands
Textured and thoughtful
Creeping up my thigh
Just enough to get warm.
I let them stay there long enough
And then I push them to their destination.
So you can explore me in detail
And turn me into a poem.
I feel myself crumbling
Of a weight that feels like a titans hand
By a burden I’ve given myself
I am atlas.
I watch myself
In the mirror
And there’s questions in my eyes
I am too embarrassed to answer
Even when I’m alone
A haunting low wail.
Quiet enough to mean something
Not loud enough to share.
I hold my knees as tight as I can
This is how I keep it together.
You stop me in the hallway
After first period and tell me that you can’t
take me to winter ball cause I’m too flat chested
I locked my door and cried into the tissue
that I used to stuff my bra.
You always hug that girl
who comes to school in heels
so I arched the soles of my feet over the rejection
and the pain wasn’t even worth your attention.
“Why is your hair so short?”
So I burned my ears
before I learned to fold them down
To set things straight,
It’s not short,
But I couldn’t fit it into the ponytail that I could twirl
while you asked me to winter ball.
So in high school
I put glue in my hair
forcing what I wish I was
to be bonded to what I am.
I cried because I thought I was dying
My mom told me that’s just my period
So I laughed with my friends about it
as we bonded over woman things and talked about
losing our virginity
at winter ball.