An Old Familiar Shirt This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

June 3, 2011
I wonder what it's like
a heart
so over-used
is sick of trying
and loving

Does it
stop altogether
its final beat
like a last note
in a song
and then the singer steps off the stage
that note still hanging
in the air

Like a smell that lingers
long after the person is gone
and reminds you of
the boy
with his
paint-stained fingers
the shy smile
that makes you want to describe
in a hundred different ways
how he looks
in his
rumpled canvas jacket
with the gold buttons
the one you promise to never wash
for fear of
losing that smell of
paint and dusty rooms, of
sunlight pouring in the window

And so you do the laundry
always leaving out the jacket
you watch the clothes
around and around
maybe that is how a heart looks
when it is all used up
like an old familiar shirt
that has been washed many different times
mixed in with everything else

All of those memories
spinning together
the smells and the feelings
of those clothes
you can still remember
when you wore that particular shirt
on that date
with that boy
his name was
you went to the movies
it was boring so
you left
and walked around in the cool night air
and he bought you a cinnamon roll
which you ate
licking the sweet sugar from your fingers
which he held in his

You get sad
the shape of his hand
the skinny fingers with their
beautiful bones
how they memorized your face
and his eyes
that shade of hazel
so deep you would swear
he could read your mind
see your soul
with its markings
not as beautiful as

Maybe a heart never wears out
maybe it just
and sticks it out
you find someone who can
hold it and never break it
someone who you can take your “fragile” sticker off for
just be

Whole and alive
with your sometimes, maybe, beautifully damaged, “alma”

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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