by Nalli, 10th
You are what my mother saw when she stood on the balcony of my childhood home looking across the way at the pink and purple sunset.
When she came to the United States she brought with her all these stories: stories of fertility witches and red bracelets and how her mother asked her what she saw when she looked at me for the first time and how she had said; LOVE. Love, in the brown eyes and brown skin, she had found you— Your full name— made you a reality, in her eyes. And she told her that what she saw in that brown was what would be carved in her bones. And it was true.
Summer’s almost over. The pollen that fell in the Spring is still making its way into my lungs. Leaving an itch I just can’t get rid of. My parents keep talking about moving. Just like every year, but this time I think they mean it. And every day the smell of smoke reminds me that we have always been moving, always coming, never fully belonging anywhere.
But love, can you hear me? I’ve been meaning to talk to you for years now, about the way my hands don’t feel like they belong to me in the mornings, or about the ashes I leave in my absence every time I leave my house, or how sometimes even looking in the mirror is enough to make me cry, and I think maybe you have given me the wrong number, but love? I think I finally found you. And love, I want you to know I will always be here. With these small hands and tiny wrists I have held onto you like my life depended on it and love, I want you to know that I believe in you like I believe there is goodness in everything, with the same intensity nine year old me used to try to convince herself there was some sort of good in her father, and love? I am here. With every corner of my heart. Because love, you come and go as if my body is a revolving door, and I am too tired to be tired of you.
Oakland Youth 6th-12th