Self Portrait from Dad's Shoulders This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

August 8, 2011
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I.
The mist barely conceals the bobbing heads of the crowd,
The browns and blonds and reds of those I tower above.
Father's head is warm and curly and gray,
Even if he always tells me not to touch his hair.
My skinny legs lock around his neck, pressing in on his groggy Adam's apple
Feet bumping against waxy bags of stale donut holes clenched in his wrinkled hands.

II.
Feet against blacktop, now, and I am the laughter,
Big balloons of air falling out of my baby teeth
And onto my noisy picture books
This time, there are turkey-cheese sandwiches with bland Cheerios in a used Glad bag,
Art projects with my stamp in the corner, a little blue raincloud.
I jump over tall orange cones, my sneakers squeaking,
And my little girl grin is the word-art of my elementary-school graduation certificate.

III.
I am grimy hands reached into cold dirt,
Kneeling with red knee-caps on dotted-pebbles,
Gardening in the hot winter with the stereo playing recordings of
The scraggly voice of a familiar, guitar-wielding teenager
With 2% milk dripping from his bottom lip
I plant seeds and drink cold cocoa with my feet
In the shade of sourgrass,
Washing my hands with antibacterial soap
Until the dirt and the chemicals form a paste beneath my fingertips.

IV.
Summer is in bed, mosquito nets slipped into my throat,
only filtering pink lemonade and ice chips past my tongue,
With the fan travelling in my shoulder bag from place to place.
There are books piled around the banisters, pages scribbled into knowledge,
The pores of my almost-vacation.

V.
Now I lie on my stomach, my head nesting into the hard-wood floors of my new home.
I can't see anything from down here.

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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