The friendship bracelets you gave in third grade,
the makeup you stole from your mother before sneaking out past midnight.
Scrunchies you wore in middle school and the pigtails that you sometimes still do.
Girls you hung out with all the time in seventh grade, but don’t anymore.
Girls you talk about boys with.
Your sister, who introduced you to lip gloss;
your mother, whom you taught how to french braid.
Girls you go to the powder room with,
girls who poured soda down your shirt at that party.
The ones you spent your afternoon hockey practice with, the ones you got your hair dyed with.
The ones you’ll remember when you look back at the polaroids,
the ones you still call up at three in the morning.
The spirit of eating cookie dough at slumber parties, I guess.
The solidarity of sisterhood that can get us through almost everything.
“Rosé all day”, she chimed, right before she walked out of the café;
lipstick stains on her to-go cup and coffee-breath fogging up the morning chill.
I wish I could do this all day.
Swim in the ocean in the pouring rain.
Eat oranges in a field in sunny Paris.
Catch the last flight back home.
Drink another mocha latté.
Anything but spend the next eight hours stuck in a cubicle;
waiting, waiting –
For 5 pm.
For the weekend.
For next year.
For God knows what.
“She’s an average girl-next-door.”
If you go looking, you’ll find a can of baking soda and a half-empty jar of olives in her refrigerator.
Not much else.
She has had burnt toast with orange marmalade and black coffee for breakfast for the past seven years.
She always has an extra jar of marmalade at hand.
The 9-to-5 pays her bills but all she really wants is a typewriter, a Polaroid camera and a plane ticket.
And a giant cup of coffee to-go, of course.
When she was a kid and her parents weren’t at home, she used to pretend that the shadows were monsters.
One day, she named them and they all played hide-and-seek together.
Sometimes, she thinks she can still see some of them hiding under her bed.
Late at night, when she’s sitting on her balcony and the light goes off in a window far away, it makes her wonder.
She breathes fear and fire alike.
She’s the princess and the monster.
She has a heart full of untold stories and a body covered in unexplained scars.
And if you ever catch her eye on the street, maybe you’ll finally realize that there’s no such thing as an ‘average’ girl in this world.
War isn’t glory.
War isn’t what the bards sing of,
War isn’t a God –
War is blood.
And rust and shards of gold in place of gilded cities
War is a distant breeze;
a promise of Utopia,
whispered at the twelfth hour
amidst the chaos
in the dreams of restless youth
War is what turns
legions upon legions of masses
into gore and dust and fables
War is Ares,
wearing the skins of the men
He has slain,
with the barest hint of triumph
on His lips just before
the battle trumpets are blown
War is blood we turn into poetry.
“Have you ever been in love?”
The one question that can have a million correct answers at once,
or maybe none at all.
“Yes, I think.”
It’s 3 a.m. in New York. The lights outside are still bright enough to make me draw the curtains. The city has it’s own way of making you feel alone in a crowd.
“What was it like?”
My sister looks at me through the passing headlights, naive eyes ready to hold on to whatever I say. She wants a Shakespearean sonnet in the age of Bonnie and Clyde.
“It was not being able to imagine saying goodbye.”
White noise consumes the darkness in the room and for a minute, I think I’m alone again.
“What happened then?”
The last fight.
The final fall.
The curtains closed.
The song ended.
“We said goodbye.”
I stood under that tree for a moment –
the one we used to take shelter under when it rained,
the one that used to be all shades of crimson at once during autumn,
and looked around for a moment.
That park we used to run around in,
the street in front of my house
where we both rode our first bikes,
the lonely bus rides;
with you in the back with your friends and me in the front with my earphones on.
Remember all those summers?
Back in the days when we’d chase the ice-cream cart all the way around town,
spend the drowsy afternoons under the trees you’d once told me were actually monsters;
and I believed you.
Pillowfights in my bedroom,
fistfights at birthday parties,
football in pouring rain,
Until we grew up.
You burned through high school
drinking cheap beer in alleyways and riding away through the night.
I slipped away too,
lost somewhere in the chaos within.
It’s ironic, how often
the life of the party is the one
stumbling all the way home;
mascara-streaked and drunk.
But here we are now.
All these years later.
The things we learned.
The times we had.
The memories, after all.
You walk up to me in the pouring rain
as a yellow school bus passes us by,
a lifetime away –
How terrible it is,
to love something Death can touch.
Isn’t that always the way somehow?
Those meant for eternity are
the ones marked by the fires of Fate,
tested and torn apart.
Which is harder?
To be the one who left,
or to be the one who survived?
To be the one who will sit at the edge of the Underworld,
stolid eyes set on the horizon,
waiting and hoping and waiting?
Or to be the one who will visit the graveyard for all the years to come
and water the shriveled, wilted flowers with tears?
Maybe this is why they say there’s life after death,
because in my end is my beginning –
For those who are meant to be
will find their way back to each other,
in this life and the next.
And every life after that.
Those fated to be star-crossed
will dance together under the stars again;
in the next world,
if not this one.