Sixteen This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 21, 2017
By , Morganville, NJ
16
my teenage years were characterized by
perpetually chapped lips and
calloused hands strumming secondhand ukuleles and
unbrushed hair coming out in clumps
(like a trail of breadcrumbs down the halls
of a deadbeat high school)
and toes poking through converse
and unwashed hair tucked into baseball caps
and poetry written on gum wrappers
stuffed into hollow mason jars
and scraping glitter from behind my ears
and bare feet on hot asphalt
and kissing at night beneath the playground swirly slides
and silencing laughs in the quiet of the library
(causing ancient librarians to shoot glares in Salinger's direction)
and adventures fueled by the light of an iphone
and biting nails so short
they can no longer be used to bloody cheekbones
and standing on school desks, leaving footprints on math homework
and drinking black coffee
(and I don't even like coffee)
and spontaneous revolution, protesting in the streets
and holding hands the way child soldiers hold rifles
(scared and shaky and all too powerful)
and reading shakespeare and comic books
and scrubbing blood from beneath my fingernails
and reclaiming our bodies with piercings and haircuts
and losing ourselves in the silly novelty of sex
(hands carving roadmaps, lips spewing galaxies onto celestial bodies)
and drinking moonshine like its sunlight
and growing out of braces
and the disney channel
and that old hand-me-down dress
(the one with the polka dots, which used to be so loved)
and learning that all of the pain
and all of the bleeding (and the crying,
the shaking,
the breaking, bending and shattering)
is not a fatal blow
but
a fading scar.





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