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Grade
6

I. the neighbors 

here,

the people are painted one color,

an unchanging blue. 

unlike the sea, 

just like the ocean.

every morning

on schedule,

they mock the garbage men like dandelions on their freshly manicured lawns

while their children fall in love with the sound of their voices.  

their babbles never reach my bedroom.  i sleep.

 

II. the church

at this hour, 

my father’s open arms become iron bars 

and his soft words 

daggers

in his attempt to preserve the goodness left in this building

and give it to me.  

i can see what he’s trying to show me, but yet 

the priest’s robes look too big for me to fit into.

 

III. the inlet 

there’s a bonfire tonight!

lumber from each live, laugh, love decor

feeds the flames 

until our consciences 

(mothers)

can’t hear the burn 

of every shot down our throats, 

our hollow fingers aching like gun barrels. 

after a chaser for the taste of self-destruction,

to cool off, 

the Ocean kisses our toes and tells us 

to come more often.

she whispers to me that i 

am a small god of everything 

i can’t control.

i believe her.

 

IV. the streets

i often ride my bike alone, 

following the veins of a history written for me 

(not about me) 

(yet)

and wishing for all of the colors! 

red especially

and

when the sky is heaving from the weight of all those 

condescending stars, 

i join my friends

and i hold their souls close to mine

on the way back Home. 

i avert my eyes as i pass the church.

 

V. the morning ride to school   

i am driven out of Hometown every morning to attend school.  

my bus arrives early, when 

Dawn is still stretching her warm limbs, 

still rubbing her dewy fingers over her eyes.  

she smiles, half-asleep; 

her sunrise is reflected in the face of my driver.

one day, i hope to compare myself to her.    

(this photograph is titled ’radiance’).

 

VI. home

after each day, 

with jelly legs,

i hide myself in my sheets and wait 

for night to come.

my sisters knock for me.  

the walls are paper thin, 

and their whisperings are slippering 

through each layer of plaster 

to greet my ears like a hug after a 

L o n g 

C r y.  

during this time, i forgive myself for everything i’ve done and everything i haven’t. 

who else will?

 

 

State
NJ
Zip Code
08736