Lover Lover

I say I like honesty, I tell myself

I like honesty because

I keep making friends with lovers

with one-sided feelings

 

I know how those go, I am a girl

who lies on her bed in the daytime

earbuds in, staring into the middle-distance

watching a second life play out like

shadows on a sheet during a storm

 

I am a cautious person in life and

in imagination, knowing all too well

how the two fool around with one another

and at sixteen, how a thing between a boy

and me can turn my insides out

 

here I should admit, I am unlikely

and in all my state I attract people

who are all smiles and false impressions

who are my friends, my very best friends

until they admit otherwise

 

I can be bitter, even at my calmest

when I am told over the Internet

from age sixteen onwards, that I am loved

in a way I do not reciprocate

and that a relationship I thought

—dangerously—was equal, was not

 

I have lost too many people

to feelings felt, words unsaid for months

and months and months, amongst it all

I’m rarely spoken to in person

about feelings so personal

they ought to inspire intimacy

 

this is where I leave most, because

I haven’t been met with the chance

to share feelings, but instead have been stuck

receiving them, dealing with them

addressing them

 

if I am that girl for you, on the bed, daytime

through the blinds and eyes staring off

at something an arm’s length away

then you will know, because I will tell you

 

 

Ghost Boy

There was one figurine left, sitting in the far corner of my Grandma’s glass cabinet. A porcelain ballerina tying her shoes, looking demure as she crisscrossed the ribbons across her ankle. I had to get on my tiptoes to reach it, and as the shelf dug into my chest all I could smell was dust.

“Um…Liss?” Maggie called. She was standing right above my head – I could hear her small, sensible shoes shuffling around the attic floor. I grabbed the ballerina by her head.

“What!”

Sliding the glass cabinet closed, I caught my muted reflection in the mirror and saw the bags under my eyes before anything else. I pushed my fringe from my forehead.

“What!”

“Can you come up here?” Maggie said.

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I Have a Pet Snake: A Guide

  1. What Not To Do

I have a pet snake. I got her in the height of my Harry Potter freak-out, when I thought evil was edgy and Voldemort had a point. Her name’s Nagini, in homage to The Dark Lord’s viper sidekick. She’s only small – her scales are a patchwork of burnt orange and normal orange, with stitches of cream in-between. She’s adorable, really. However, what I originally had in mind was something bigger, and scarier. Instead my parents pulled out a pintsized earthworm on my 15th birthday, their shiny faces all smiley and grossly expectant. I gotta say, she has the evil attitude down. To this day all she ever does is sleep, eat, and glare at me. If I knew parseltongue it would be lost on her. She is not a conversationalist.

This is supposed to be a helpful guide to owning a snake. It’s more of an autobiographical tale of what-not-to-do. Take it from me, I would know.

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Commencement Speech

“Okay little bro, today’s a big deal for us.”

I twisted to face him, resting my legs on the driver’s seat. We were outside of the supermarket and would-be rain clouds were rolling over the parking lot. Coby had a firetruck in one hand and Spiderman in the other. He was slamming them together and making crashing sounds, spitting all over the back of my seat.

“Why’s Spiderman bigger than the truck?” I asked him while picking at my chipped nail polish.

“He’s Spiderman,” Coby said with a lisp. “Why’s today big?”

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She Bought The Sunshine

She was burning up. The sun bore down on the alley, making her feet sting as they pelted the simmering gravel. Her hands, which clung to the large metal egg, throbbed in objection to the heat. Her only relief were the few sharp shadows that projected inwards from the walls, where families had slung fabrics from window to window in an attempt to liven up the crumbling lane.

“Kyra!” she heard the eldest boy shout down the alley. The raspy giggles of the others came soon after. They were far away, but not as far as she would have liked. “Kyra Gupta!” the boy sang out with a pernicious edge to his voice.

She pressed the egg closer to her chest, the metal warming her skin through the fabric of her gown. The further she got from the market the heavier the egg felt in her arms, the more her legs felt as if they were going to buckle and betray her.

“Why are you running?” the boy teased.

“What have you stolen?” added one of the girls behind him.

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When I Go Out

There was humidity in the air. It always hung around in places where there were lots of people.The hum of voices and the dull lights made me sleepy.

“You’re a nut.”

“Huh?” I said.

I tilted my head towards the voice; my friend was smirking at me with a drink in her hand. She shook her head and turned back to her conversation with an energy that I could never reciprocate. Our group was beside a picnic table and I was lying on the seat with my legs dangling over the edge. I wasn’t trying to make a scene, it was fairly normal for me. The air was a little clearer down there and the seat cooled my back. And I could look at the stars while I listened to my friends. It was nice, I was happy.

Someone walked towards me and stood by the end of the table, by my knees. All I could see was a torso and a beer bottle. I didn’t bother to get up to look further.

“Dude,” he said. His voice was low and slurred, drunk.

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Clockwork Forest

“What does it mean?”

“It means it’s almost 12 o’clock?”

“But what is it doing here?”

The fob watch hung from a branch by its chain. The delicate hands of the watch were angled upwards, one hand slowly ticking away the seconds. They had been hiking through the woods since the sun rose, lazily trudging over bared roots and moss. The air was thick and the wind cold, so by afternoon they were both over the idea all together. Thea shivered and glared at the watch with curious uncertainty.

“Can we stop? My feet feel like they’re going to break off,” she said. She had already taken off her backpack. She sat on it to avoid the dew that still gripped the ground. Noah gave her a reassuring nod, but instead of resting he approached the watch where it hung. It too had dew clinging to it. It was slowly dripping off and falling to the forest floor in a puddle. He held it in his palms, weighing it from one to the other. It was like ice. He could feel every tick resounding through the metal, yet it didn’t make sense. The gears should have been frozen in place. He let it go and it swayed like a pendulum.

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