number 1 Oma This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I have to remind him of her first name,
as my counselorperuses my
previous schedules and stops.
I thought I saw her atKmart, I remark,
remembering the way my heart rose, clogging mythroat,
the way I stared, taking note of her every motionand
my dismay when my dad prodded us along
before I ever got aclear shot of her face,
I went on, ... but I didn't say anything;I didn't know
if it really could be her.
Expressing his regretat my shyness,
he tells me of the hugs he begged of her
to keepher frown from sticking, saying,
... and despite it all, she wasalways so kind;
she didn't have much of a life but,
when shewas absent that second day
you knew she was gone for good - shewasn't
coming back.

I remember nodding and then her last day,
her steel gray pants, ablack sweater and heels
moistly clicking through the puddles tothe office:
the final imprint she would make upon me - an image inmy mind.
I never thought heels went well with pants
but shepulled it off effortlessly I always noted.

I will dedicate something to her someday, I decide,
as mycounselor goes on,
She better go to Heaven when shedies,
because her life on earth is Hell.

Frieda closes the window
and stepsoutside.
Without being able to stop the ringing in herears,
she throws herself down on the
North Pole andcries,
how much farther "up" must I go
to stop beingso "down."

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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