- kaitlen alexandra
- kaitlen alexandra
- harper whitney
Do you remember going into your mother’s closet and trying on all of her shoes? I do.My mom’s closet lay beyond her bathroom, and, after trying on various lipsticks and spraying her flowery perfume into the air until a thin layer of sharp-scented dew covered the countertop, I would parade in, happy to play Cinderella for a few hours with my mother’s high heels. I would dance around in shiny black flats or strappy golden heels, toes sliding into a red pump’s tight point, heels clapping against a thick cork wedge.
As I got older, my feet grew to the size of diving flippers that slapped the ground instead of dancing lightly across it. I could no longer so easily slip my feet into my mother’s petite, delicate shoes. I would sit on the floor of her closet, and attempt to cram my feet into the shoes that once made me feel like a princess, this time feeling rather like an ugly step sister. I stomped around, my feet spilling over the toes or hanging off the back of a heel. This ritual would continue until my feet ached and blistered, and only then would I return to my room, defeated.
When I turned 15, I fell in love with a boy. It was a perfect fit. He called me beautiful, and when I ran, he always chased. My heart soared at the thought of being loved and seen as special in the eyes of someone who wasn’t my mother or father. I was living in a fairytale. But in a few months, the clock chimed midnight on the eve of our relationship, and just like that, the magic disappeared. I pursued him desperately. He ran and I chased, him always the faster. I called out, showing him my heart, hoping he would want me again. He didn’t. I watched as my vision of a perfect Prince Charming shattered like glass. He stopped calling me beautiful. He stopped thinking I was special. It turned out the shoe just never fit. I worry that I will find myself at 80 years old still trying to wedge my feet into teensy heels, unable to squeeze my toes into the fragile pairs some girls twirl in so easily. For now, I guess I’ll just keep trying on shoes, venturing out of my mother’s closet to pursue a perfect fit.
- grace eliene
Thick against my feet are the sounds and the webs I try not to weave. I hear so many different sounds, none of which are mine. The faint cry of my feet are numbing; have you ever seen a butterfly with no wings? Have you ever seen a painting made with no paint?
- leyka simran
I like to linger in the space between one day and the next –
the entire world fades away as eleven turns to twelve,
and I somehow remain,
left to gather up the fragments of a shattered heart I cannot remember how to repair.
I take a drag of my future and hold it,
heavy and glowing inside my lungs for
one, two, three.
I exhale, watching the tendrils of smoke wind their way
around AP Calculus, around Raleigh, around college essays,
in the door of a 200 square foot musty apartment and out into a green backyard
with a picket fence and a border collie named Inevitability.
I find a certain pleasure in tearing pages from my notebook –
as if by laying fragments of my existence face-up on the hardwood floor
I can will them to rearrange themselves into something better;
as if by flicking ash onto black ink
I can become the paper, become the fire, become the smoke that will carry me
far, far away from here.
There’s a building pressure inside my chest
and I’m not sure how many more pages I can burn before heat consumes me entirely.
Perhaps I am not words, but light and ember –
perhaps I do not want to reorder myself
as much as I want to watch blisters simmer across my fingertips.
This should be simple:
smoking ashes in a firepit sixty-five miles west of Abilene,
rain that lingers on my lips long after I have ducked inside.
This should be simple,
yet I linger to light up again.
- maye hadley