from AN ODE TO MY EIGHTEENTH YEAR
It is hard for me to write about this month without hiding the details, wrapping them up in plastic containers like leftover food at a fancy restaurant far too expensive to be wasted. Details that will probably just take up space in the refrigerator of your mind and eventually end up rotting in the garbage. Because October was hard to swallow. Didn’t taste good then, doesn’t even taste good after heating it up. Because why read a poem about the month that was almost the end? Why write a poem about days that could have been my last?
So instead, I will just tell you the easy parts. I will write the parts I choose to remember. Like how my two best friends surprised me with a pumpkin for Halloween and how we forgot to carve it. How, by the time we got around to figuring out what to carve– a face, a word, anything– it was already November. How we carved it anyway. I will tell you about the leaves finally turning golden in the sunlight as I walked alone to therapy. How this was a relief to me, as I couldn’t envision life past the end of summer. I stopped to look up, blinded by flashes of sun and blue, and how for the shortest of interludes, I felt like I could make it. That I wasn’t meant to be in the ground, but on it– so that I could keep looking up the way I did that afternoon. The woman in the office with the kind voice and dark eyes made me promise I’d come back safe the next week, and the next, and…
How I promised. Even though, looking back, I didn’t know if it was possible to make it even another. It is because of these parts, these fleeting promises of possible tomorrows, that I am here to write this today. To tell you: hold onto the glimpses. Hold on to the seconds you are alive enough to look up.