Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
I close my eyes,
And her face is with me.
Etched deep into her rosy cheeks.
Gold mine eyes
Glittering with the sparkles
Of a thousand different crystals.
I clutch my locket,
Feel the cold metal surrounded by my fingers,
And allow my pencil
To lead its way across the paper.
Dancing its own path
Until the sun goes down.
Through the weathered boards of Fort Samanna,
Giving me the light I don’t need
To draw the face I know so well.
It spills onto the figure
In the yard below,
Her feet moving in a perfect rhythm
As the soccer ball soars into the goal.
The girl retrieves it and begins again
Pounding the same path
Until the grass and dirt
Are blended together
In one muddled mess.
The one and only
A Reality Away From Reality
Time flies by
Unbeknownst to me
The only thing in the world
Is my pencil.
Are finally at bay.
My own perfect
Until it gets popped.
A Million Reasons
Her hands clamp onto my shoulders
Right as her feet leave the ground,
Catapulting herself up and over my hunched figure.
She lands in a perfect crouch
Like the sure footed star she is.
She straightens up
And her sagging bun slaps the back of her neck,
A feeble attempt to keep her wild blonde curls
Out of her million dollar sight.
Sparkling with all the life mine have lost,
Focus on me with an exaggerated wink.
I clap my hand over my chest
And focus on my breathing,
Pointlessly trying to calm my frantic heart.
Over 15 years,
And every little antic still gets me everytime.
Taking no social cues as per usual,
Leans over to peer at my sketch.
I shake my head and pull it away,
But not before she steals a glance.
Her now disapproving eyes
Make my heart sink.
“It’s always her.
There’s a whole world out there to draw,
So why is it always her?”
A million answers
Run through my mind.
Because I miss her.
Because drawing her keeps her alive
Better than the coffin under the ground.
Because this helps me to remember her
And everything about her I vowed to never forget.
Because illuminating her
The way I will always view her,
Eases my guilt.
I don’t answer Anna,
And tell her she wouldn’t understand.
She insists she would,
But I know she’s wrong.
How could she
When she doesn’t feel
The stabbing, lurching pains
Reverberating through me every single second
Of every single day.
Slowly devouring me
From the inside out.
Starting with my heart,
That’s become too dark to follow.
Anna sighs deeply,
Like she always does when I close myself off.
When I act like the firefighters I used to idolize,
Distinguishing any sign of emotion.
She turns to leave,
But bends down before she does.
She cups my chin,
Forcing our eyes to meet.
The shutters in mine flicker,
But remain firmly closed.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
Slowly and clearly,
So I can’t miss a word.
I don’t say anything
As she turns on her heel and exits.
But once I hear her footsteps,
Climbing down the ladder
And into the house,
As the tears begin to roll down my cheeks,
“But it was.”
5:45 AM, Monday Morning
Anna leaps out of bed
Before the first ring of the alarm clock has ended.
She throws open the curtains,
The light pouring onto me
Is so bright that my eyes clamp shut
And a groan of protest escapes my lips.
By the time I manage to drag myself out of bed,
Anna has already thrown on her favorite pair of joggers,
One of her many varsity soccer sweatshirts,
And her accurately deemed untamable curls
Are already escaping their ponytail prison.
As I stumble around the room,
Grumbling an incoherent mix of nonsense and obscenities,
Anna sticks her tongue out at me
And says, “I get the last muffin,”
Before sprinting downstairs.
I roll my eyes
And finally manage to make it outside
Just as the bus arrives.
Welcome to High School…
I slide into the ripped leather seats
Directly behind the bus driver,
Stupidly believing that it will stop anything,
And drown myself in the sweet world of music.
Anna passes me and sits in the last seat,
Surrounded by the jocks
That idolize her
And torture me.
I’ve learned to ignore
Both the names and the objects
Constantly thrown at me,
More common than snowstorms in New England.
So it doesn’t surprise me
That the second we begin to move
Papers start thumping against the back of my head.
I don’t dare turn around,
But I know if I did,
Anna’s sneers would match those of my tormentors.
… A Predictable Hell
I get off the bus and keep my head down,
Focused on the grass, then rocky pavement,
Then paint-splattered tile.
A weight immediately lifts off of my chest,
Without me even knowing it was there,
And suddenly I can breathe again.
For a short time,
I’m free once again.
And slump into the beanbag chair.
Everyone nods at me as they enter,
Not because we’re friends,
But because we have mutual respect
For fellow artists.
Greets us with a smile.
And we silently begin our separate projects.
The painters grab their paints,
The sculptors grab their clay,
While I grab my trusty charcoal pencil,
Close my eyes,
And lose myself in my memories of her once again.
Her happiness would always trigger mine.
Her chocolate chip cookies could cure any broken heart I ever had.
Her hugs would instantly calm my seemingly endless tears.
Just her presence
Filled in any aches in my body.
There’s nothing to stem my pain.
What I wouldn’t do
To be able to tell her
I am a cloud,
Merely drifting through my day,
Never connecting to anything
What’s the point of getting attached?
If people will just leave,
And abandon me once more.
So I just drift
Like The SUn and THe Moon
The whole walk home from the bus stop
Is full of Anna’s chatter.
The captain of the football team
And the most popular guy in school
Fighting to be her prom date.
Her best friend being angry
That she’s stuck with
The baseball team leader
And not someone
Who plays a more important sport.
Trying to get out of the detention
She received from skipping first period
To hook up
With her arch enemy’s boyfriend behind the stairwell.
She expects me to listen
Then offer pity
For the oh so difficult life she lives.
I shake my head
And walk quicker.
It’s only once I walk away
That Anna snaps personalities.
She jogs up to me,
Puts her hand on my shoulder, squeezes, and says,
“Enough about me,
What about you, Sam?”
What does she think the answer will be?
That the tomato stain on my shirt made me laugh?
That the comments made by my own twin sister
Make my life worth living?
There are no words.
Written in every crevice
Of her face,
Triggers my tears.
I shouldn’t feel even an ounce of guilt
For being closed off,
Especially after how she treats me,
But somehow I still do.
Not even the screams of my heart,
The horrors of my mind,
Can drown out
Her broken voice.
“Why won’t you talk to me anymore?”
Like The Moon and The Stars
When we were little,
Anna and Sam,
Sam and Anna,
We were mistaken for the same person,
The inseparable twins you hear about
In books and in studies.
The only difference,
Was our personalities.
Anna was always athletic,
I admired that she always followed her heart,
Did what was best for her,
Not for anyone else.
I was shy,
Obsessed with books and drawing.
I put others before me,
In every possible way.
I’ve never known how to take care of myself.
It’s always been Anna before me,
No matter what she did to me.
At least that hasn’t changed.
Unlike everything else.
I lock myself in our bedroom
And by the thumping
I’ve come to recognize
As the worn soccer ball
Beating against the back of the house,
Anna’s taking her anger at me
Out on the inflatable sphere.
While I release my sadness
By pressing slightly harder on my pencil
And getting angry at myself
Because her face is too dark.
The blankets are too hot
But the pure air is too cold.
I toss and turn
For what feels like an eternity
But is only a few hour.
I release the demons in my mind.
Letting them fly free
Going in whichever direction they please,
As they drag me around in their wake.
Just as I’m beginning to lose myself
In the mess of wings and feathers,
My fingers reach for my locket
And catch on a clasp
I never noticed before.
Hands shaking like I’ve just run a marathon,
I carefully undo the latch,
And a piece of paper falls into my hand.
I fumble around in the dark for the lamp,
And once the light hits the note,
We were fighting over something stupid,
Not even worth an argument,
Never mind what it turned into.
It ended with me
Screaming into her face,
About how I never loved her
And how much of a failure she was.
She didn’t respond
Just left the room.
It was the last time I ever saw her.
They said she was gone.
And that it was all my fault.
But it wasn’t.
Because she’s still alive.
My dearest Sam (and I’m sure Anna too),
I’ll only say one thing,
This is not your fault.
I just need a break.
A change of scenery.
I’ll wait for you,
If you want to join me,
At our spot
Everyday for three months.
If you don’t come,
I’ll move on without you.
If you do,
We’ll travel the country together.
It will be a much better education
Than any school could ever provide.
Either way I love you infinitely,
What happens after an earthquake?
Where your whole life is ripped apart
And thrown into the vast sea of unknown?
You find someone
And hold on tight.
Anna is beside me.
Taking the paper from my trembling hands.
She reads it
And wordlessly pulls me into a hug.
I normally avoid contact at all costs,
But I melt into her embrace.
Anna pulls away.
She looks me directly in the eyes,
And asks the question she already knows the answer to,
“Are you going to go?”
I ask the real question,
The elephant in the room,
Or at least in my mind.
Anna barely thinks before her mouth opens,
My heart sinks,
And I begin to pick at a thread
On my sweatpants.
Because I already have my answer.
And it doesn’t match hers.
Anna’s always been the risk taker.
The one to take great leaps
Into the vast unknown.
Have always stuck to safety.
Whatever will give me a sense of security.
How we’ve suddenly switched places.
For the next week,
Turns into threatening
Which finally morphs into begging.
She can’t live without me,
When she’s always acted
Like she can’t live with me.
I find Anna clutching my packed backpack,
Sitting cross legged on my bed,
And begins ranting away.
“Why do you want to leave?
Dad takes care of us just fine!”
While a million reasons fly through my head,
There’s only one clear answer:
“Because it’s time I do what’s best for me.”