Press snooze eight times. Smoke in the shower. Shave one leg, forget the other. Throw hair in a messy bun. Fuck it. Don’t really want to wear makeup, but also don’t really want to look ill. Read today’s horoscope. Try to call yourself out of school. It works sometimes, but not this time.
The football coach with grey hair and a dome belly who the kids call Jerry Sandusky and the adults call Lonely calls you Miss Lipstick in the hallway.
Bite your tongue all day. Nail biters put special lemon juice on their nails to keep from chewing. Wonder if this can be done to the roof of an unruly mouth. When you were little, you were a brave girl,
a fearless firecracker.
This year, you were nominated “Most Changed from Elementary School.”
When your mother kisses you on the scalp, let her. Let your father hug you, hard. Not like cradling an eggshell. Not anymore. Clean your bedroom. Hang art on the walls. Donate the dress you wore that night. Delete the text messages. Look people in the eyes again. Burn your to-do lists. Stop finding flashbacks in the coat closet, the car, your purse. Buy a new purse. Take piano lessons. Practice. Write songs. Write about something other than him, what he did, or the ash preceding the lava. Focus on what matters. Apply to college. Healing looks less like Chicago, more like Minnesota. Less like poker, more like poetry. On Valentine’s Day, make cards for the old folks home and buy flowers for your mother. Drink pitchers of glitter. Stop skipping yoga class. Reconnect. Scrawl your teachers blessing on the bathroom mirror-
“Namaste: The light in me honors the light in you.