By Isabel Marks
Here’s the only poem I’ve ever written that is good but not about someone I still talk to. Enjoy!
are you too polite to tell me that I’m crying? my cheeks are so flushed that I see pink when I stare at my reflection in the window behind you. your lips are parted just enough for me to see you biting your tongue. be careful, that will hurt like a motherfucker if it starts bleeding. poptarts and the hemorrhage, please, and all of my poems are about you. forget all the poems, all the paths lead to you. i am in a fucking maze where it’s you or a blockade, baby, and even though we haven’t talked in a year, your ghost gives me headaches. i’m still angry but i don’t know how to do that. add that to the list, teach me righteous indignation and clean logic? i have to stop buying child advil. because no, i still can’t swallow pills.
I wrote this poem in bits and pieces. The first few lines were written over the summer, and then I let it sit for a few months. It felt unfinished. The relationship it was about doesn’t have any real sense of closure attached so I just assumed that the poem would stay that way. A few months later, I was frantically trying to gather up poetry to bring to my mentor Elena and grabbed this piece on a whim. Her encouragement pushed me to keep fiddling. Now the poem is not about a relationship lost but about a relationship I didn’t know how to lose.
Isabel Marks (she/her) is a high school freshman from New York City. Her Scholastic-award winning work can be found in notebooks and laptop folders. She edits for Polyphony Lit, where she serves as a member of the Junior Executive Board. Outside of writing, she likes yogurt, politics and art of all kinds.