Ruby L., 12th- Sunnyvale, CA
My eyelids are shades of blue from the inside out
And my collarbones ache from carrying the weight of my shoulders.
My neck is criss-crossed with green lines from necklaces I didn’t take off
Just to have something to twist, someplace to preserve my thumbprint.
My head swims with night air, intoxicating and berry-black, sweet and sharp.
I could take it gulp by gulp and still be on my knees for more,
Though the bruises on my legs have faded now that I don’t know who to pray to--
Though I ask Persephone for a favor: find me a pomegranate, give me something to make me want to
Stay in my brick-and-mortar Elysium.
I’d leave if I could, but I know I’d never let myself, sunk down into grey reluctance
Hands up, reaching for a star-lit ceiling.
The water in my veins is tugging me to the ocean, vertebrae cracking, and I shudder,
Maybe to relieve the pressure in my chest, maybe to shake myself awake.
Nothing quite compares to the feeling of breathing through an open window
As rain pounds the pavement outside, mouth-watering and silver, not quite melancholy.
I chase that feeling, ignoring pebbles pressed deep into the soles of my feet.
I let my eyes close, let my hair whip and knot as I run
Putting on a show for nobody, convincing the curves of my mouth that they just want attention.
I let my throat ache, raw and red with days-old hunger for anywhere but here.
I sit on a park bench that gives me splinters but lets me rest for a minute
And I wonder
Do I never want to grow old, or
Do I just want to live in the faraway world I created
For the self I thought my youth would let me be?
Students 6th-12th Grades