Fifteen is pencil smudged fingertips
Blurred, blended shadows
Scribbled down blue-lined pages of angst
Spilled out in erasable form
Twenty years later
Only yellow smudged pages remain
Admit it, you liked being sad.
Joy brought nothing but crooked words
Foreign as thirty-five’s spectre
A meaningless dictionary definition.
So you dyed your brown hair black
Expunged your wardrobe of all color
Penciled your eyes into relief
Wrote messages on your skin that screamed
Leave me alone
Be very afraid
As if 14o lbs and 5 foot nothing could ever frighten.
That gangling crowd of misfits
Knights in trench-coats and chunky black boots
Princesses in liquid eyeliner
Court jesters taped to tables
Nights spent out liberating hood ornaments
Drinking so much Mountain Dew your teeth ached
With the certainty those nights would last forever.
Fifteen doesn’t understand forever.
A lie of distance and perspective
Foreshortened to the point of being lost beyond the horizon line
You have so much potential, he’d say, hunching over his desk
And you’d stare at off-white cinder-blocks
If only you’d apply yourself
Apply fire to unlit wicks
Shuffle, cut, repeat
Until the stupid cards
That thirty-five will be