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Kindergarten Scrawl

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When I was younger, there was always a camera around
perhaps in case I went up in smoke;
scattered like sand in the wind.
I suppose I would leave behind curly blonde hairs
or ink-stained pages covered in kindergarten scrawl.
Maybe torn slips of wrapping paper
from Christmas presents opened too early
with wide smiles and in secrecy.

There are scars at the ends of my sentences now;
they represent goodbyes. A stringent smile,
pursed lips, and the hollow itching of time passing.
I know what it means to go up in smoke;
for a moment suffocated, and then gone.
Such that we are, valued only when lost.

The kindergarten scrawl evolves into poetry.
We strive to discover our identities
through alliteration and clichéd similes.
We are stark and rigid, with darkly lined eyes,
learning about nasty rumors in school
instead of how to write pointless papers
and of the history of forgotten genocides.
Maybe if I had listened in class, I
would have been less selfish.

Goodbye swirls across a clean staircase sky.
It leaves things left unsaid –
just ink splotches staining the inside of head.
I discover the stirring of sheets, inspired
to write poetry about our eloquent dances
as tuneless instruments and worthless treasures.
Scraping empty words from the headboards,
discovering lust under the lampshades
and in the crooks above collarbones.

I spun in circles on the rooftops, as if searching
for some gunshot to cut me loose. A hundred shivering stars
coalescing like broken bodies, more free
than I could ever be.
Rummaging amongst pill bottles and cigarettes
for something lost in sweet exhaustion.
I forsake that serotonin high I once found
for a more important nothingness.

At some point, as I rested in the warm water –
my thoughts clouded by some nameless substance –
I saw I was guarded by an invisible sentinel.
And the world sprawled open, finally into brightness
leaving behind broken cities and cold loneliness.

At last mountains are moved, oceans are separated.
And having made it so far, but nowhere at all,
I took a step back to read that kindergarten scrawl
and realized that I made it somewhere after all.





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