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Growing Up This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Ithaca, NY
I still remember the day we went looking for the woods
And only ending up bruising our knuckles
On the back of the wardrobe,
But even though there weren’t any coats
We still found enough clothes to fill our own stories
So we wrote them in the air with our crayon colored minds;
You slipped into your mothers yellow dress
And finger painted her make up on your smiling face
In the way that only children can manage,
But your reflection was already calling you the fairest one of all
So I pulled on a stiff black suit
Claiming that I never wanted to be anyone’s wife;
Your father found us like that,
Standing in front of the mirror dreaming of maybes
So he beat never again into our skin,
That was the last time we ever played dress up

Three years later we were sitting in art class
Drawing self portraits with neon markers;
The teacher came to our table
And smiled at your twin on the paper in front of you
Then she looked at me with concern;
I drew a butterfly with its wings torn off,
Body crumpled in the hand of a man too big to fit on the page
Let alone in the chamber of my heart,
She told me I missed the point of the assignment
And I told her she had missed me entirely
But you still promised to hang it on your fridge,
I couldn’t bare to tell you it would be kinder to throw me away

Its another two years and then middle school hits us like a drum,
We learned what kissing was and why people wanted to do it
And I learned that boys will lie
And then scatter my innocence in the wind like a dandelion,
You learned that you could fit inside a locker for six hours straight,
And when girls imitating glossy magazine covers
Read articles about hate
And started rumors that I was pregnant instead of overweight
You claimed to be the father just to watch their heads spin
As they realized you didn’t have the right parts
But it made me laugh through the tears
So you called it a victory and burned my white flag

So now as we sit in the back of a high school math class
While a teacher that never wanted to come back to this place
Puts equations on the board
Through an out of focus projector,
I cant help but wonder if rabbits and birds
Ever stand in front of the light
And try to contort themselves into hands,
Longing to write poems on the white page of the moon
But never quite being able to get it right;
Because I know that every time you shine a flashlight
Against the cracking white plaster of your ceiling
That so closely resembles my ribcage
I twist my fingers that still remember the feeling of brokenness
And try to form the wings that have been clipped from my back
So many times that they’ll never grow again





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