when i was seventeen i started buying books of poetry because,
as it turned out, i didn’t know everything yet;
i wanted to read each and every one, sat on a dusty carpet in
the barnes and noble thirty minutes from my house,
wondered why bookstores have such weird names,
settled on three collections because i had to be home soon, it’s
the night before the first day. i’m starting my
senior year in thirteen hours & all i want to do is lie down in
barnes and noble, read ariel and red sugar,
forget that i haven’t done my ap english work,
avoid how little i care about doing my ap english work,
i don’t think i’m going to wear any makeup.
my face is red and puffy without it, eyes small as ocean floor stones,
lips pale and thin like old banana skins, but also,
i used to spend forty minutes doing my makeup sophomore year so
i had to stop eating breakfast & i also stopped eating lunch,
but that’s a lifestyle choice, not a practicality, and it’s also
a whole separate poem, probably,
anyways, i think i’m going to just bring my three new books and a
box of cereal. i’ll leave the lip gloss at home, and maybe i’ll start wanting
to do things i like again. maybe i’ll start doing my schoolwork again,
if i make my face shiny clean enough, or have a balanced breakfast,
maybe i’ll turn into some sort of GPA necromancer. that’s what
people say, right? do x y and z and you’ll stop aching for death in
the barnes and noble thirty minutes from your house. i used to
want to have a book on the shelves in front of me, but
i’m writing a stupid poem that’s just a flow of self-pitying thoughts
instead of doing necessary tasks
if i flunk senior year english can people still say
i was a good writer? ponder that, o teacher.
essential question: if writer avoids reading epic novel to write a
bad poem in a cramped
bookstore bathroom, is she still meaningful? will anyone remember her?
what are the thematic implications of the
makeup? can you tell the writer was raped?
i understand why sylvia plath wanted to try on different lives;
tomorrow, i can be whole again, a sophomore with makeup and mentality intact.
today, though, I am a girl who eats too much and cries into stale carpets,
and writes bad bathroom poetry on old receipts.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.