Graze the lips with concrete and floss with blood
Wintergreen and sharp, pennies in the mouth that
Rattle like bicycle wheels down long hills.
Bandaid sticky, adhesive concealer that fortifies a face
To face the world dripping with bruises, salt, and the momentum
Was it the way the leaves fell,
streamlined, as I burst
bawling onto greenery,
or the first time sunlight peeked
through dark branches overhead—
or the reddish-purple skin
stretched over my sleeping body,
surrounded by fluid? What phantom
The ink darkens, leeching my energy as I trace an index over the text. A rejection letter from California Institute of the Arts, and best regards. No better than every other art academy who also shelved my portfolio.
The letter lands neatly in the bin. I stalk to my studio.
Ok, so it’s mid April during Spring break and you’re on the wretched 1 train. You get on at 28th street after a sleepover with your best friend who, in 11 months, will no longer be your friend. You find a seat next to a robust woman who we’re going to call Katelyn.
The parking lot felt stagnant as Jude walked across empty yellow lines. The air was weighted with the cold, heavy enough that it almost seemed like the cloud of her breath dispersed down rather than up. The lights flickered above her head with a steady, fly-like buzz.