Natalie Remembers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 1, 2011
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Auntie Camille thinks I don't remember
malevolent plumes of smoke
reflecting against the oily linoleum tiles
every Monday night after Wheel of Fortune
Her shaking, almost paralyzed fingers
scrape against the windowsill and
drag the chipping paint away
as she struggles to grip the lock and
release the meandering smoke
into the buzzing Minneapolis streets
Little bits of mended porcelain fraught with gold fillings
clatter together as she stutters amidst
gulps and pants
“Go. Homework, Natalie”

Two years later and she stumbles into
my room, 145B
(tenacious perfume clings to her curved hips)
She is useless like the receding lifeline engraved in my left
palm, ambling smoke embedded in her tarnished, silvery hair
Cheekbones remind me of the Montclair cliffs we visited
Glistening tears dangle off of her cheeks
rainwater coursing through the rocky gaps
Nodding her head at the doctors,
slipping the IV in and I barely feel a thing
My eyes surge, greeted by foreign kaleidoscopes

Maybe I'll become a French painter
capturing newlyweds as they share laughter-sprinkled crepes
at the Café Lune Avon in front of the Eiffel Tower

Maybe I'll become a trapeze artist
and contort my body like the wisps of smoke that
ramble out of Auntie Camille's bathroom window

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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