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One to leave behind This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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One. Family photo beside the Christmas tree, crunchy wrapping paper and baby was in a red, felt Santa Claus hat. Mommy cooked dinner and danced to Madonna.

Four. New house. Big hill, big eyes and a secret place behind the fence in the back yard. There's lots of hairy poison ivy vines. They feel nice in cold places between fingers.

Seven. Not baby, anymore. Baby number two and the bedroom is blue now. Leaf trail houses on the top of the hill, onion grass and snail shells in spring.

Eleven. New house. New school. Big girl. Perfect for soccer and Judo and being scared of the dark. Sleeps with blanket over head, maybe no one will see. First crush, and of course it's love because it's sixth grade and he was so cute. Best Friend moves home again, Virginia has mailed her back, unwanted. Nightmares start, thriving in little hash marks counting circles of the ceiling fan and missing pencils on inside of wrist.

Twelve. Wins the first tournament. Breaks a nose, an arm, and a few fingers. New Best Friend has a perfect giggle, short enough for my pocket. First real boyfriend. Break up. Icy wooden decks and the discovery of hoodies. Becomes one of the guys. Vision is tainted, hands unsteady with sharp things. Oops. Hash marks count five.

Thirteen. Done with new-old school. Ready for new-new. Fills up journals by the dozen and lines bookshelves with constant rainy-day blues and good scrabble words. Hash marks count ten – one for each letter of obsequious, the unattainable scrabble nirvana.

Fourteen. Hair is chopped off, might as well be bald. Love it. Friends of friends and pruny from too much pool time. Latin and Art and root words and teddy bears surrounded by beer bottles and a kitchen knife – art teacher says it tells a story. His eyes have a lot of questions. Hash marks count 15, the number of hours slept in a week.

Fifteen. The Other Me introduced Dexter and Starburst jelly beans. New Best Friend needs to meet The Other Me. Quilted stargazing and summer reading that never gets done. Adventures into rotting buildings, a broken piano and children's clothes in the echoing gym. Eerie and hold hands. Hash marks count 20, the number of sweaters collected.

Sixteen. Warm water and a locked bathroom door. No steam and the shower runs cold with no one in it. Hash marks count one, from palm to elbow. One, because baby missed the tiny felt Santa Claus hat. There won't be any more family pictures.

Seventeen. Bedroom is mustard yellow, and dusty. It's dark under here. Hash marks count zero, sewn and sealed with concealer. Still had to be beautiful, like smiles with that crunchy wrapping paper. March, and the Christmas tree is starting to lose its needles. Mommy cooks dinner and dances to Madonna.

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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This article has 7 comments. Post your own!

OldYoungOneThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm:
I like how it took me through a journey about a child life. It went from innocence to what i felt was corruption . I like it.   Could you possibly commetn and rate some of my work? I'd like to see what you would think about my peoms and if your really inot reading my articles (no pressure)
 
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AlaskaFrost This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm:
This is stunning. I love how it starts out cheery and discovering the world and then as you grow up, it gets darker [much darker] as you lose your innocence. All of the details seem to have been carefully chosen and written. You are an excellent writer, and this is absolutely beautiful.
 
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Simply_Ciara said...
Apr. 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm:
I somewhat get this poem I feel like its telling a story of your life but in the end you wish you could go back to the old simple days. But I'm not for sure if that's what you were writing about lol it's just how I see it. But I like the fact that it gets my mind working and really makes me think. Keep up the good work :D
 
KiyokoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm :
This poem is sort of about that, yeah! There are also some rather morbid undertones of suicide though, which is what the "hash marks" stand for. If you reread it with that in mind, it might be easier to see that side of it!
 
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JoPepperThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm:
I didn't completly get it to be honest, but I still found it intriguing. I gonna' make a go at the meaning and correct me if I'm wrong.  Are you talking about how you can't wait to grow but as you grow up you lose bits of innocence. Eventually you wish you never grew up and you had that innocence back.?  Very good!
 
beautifulspiritThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 12, 2012 at 10:31 am :
I agree with JoPepper. I didn't understand all aspects of the poem. I assumed you meant that as we grow older, we lose our innocence and become more vulnerable to the world. I did like the poem because it felt like a timeline. Are there themes of suicide?
 
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wordbeater said...
Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:31 am:
This was beautiful! I just wish there was more for each year so I could get a full picture. It was raw and the details were crisp and awesome. If I had to critique it, I'd just want more! I love your word combinations, they're very unexpected and unique! :D
 
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