Grace Katharine; an ode to your senior year.
To my eldest sister–
I have sat front row
to watch the human body
rot from the inside out
because growing up,
my sister was overweight and had eczema,
so the world mistook her
newfound small frame
for a miracle diet that had cured obesity in three months,
rosy patches scabbed over in grey,
for the winter itchies turned cherry red by her scratching,
yellow fingers with divots at the seams,
for the time she dated a smoker to make mom mad
she was eighteen, and
it was her senior year, and
her knees had finally stopped aching from carrying
an 80-pound tire swing at her waist, and
she finally had someone more than just a lunch table friend
a university acceptance
made her hollow eyes glow
for the first time since she was three;
after special ed classes induced by seizure medications
had promised her nothing but the back door
she was finally happy and the world followed suit;
the stars aligned and she held them tight in her hands.
But the night emergency room doctors said,
“Ma’am, this is not right.
The patches are not eczema
and the needles in her bones
are not from running too far too fast.”
Her lilac-lacquered lips
were not from
the lavender bags mom tied at our bed posts or
summer nights when our bedtime remained 7:30 or
the year we moved coast to coast or
the time we broke the neighbor girl’s nose or
midnights when we drove to corner stores for candy corn, or
from a lavender bushel with petals decaying in her pockets,
left to reminisce on our summers in the cherry belt.
My sister once told me
are the ones where
tragic things happen to beautiful people
and yes, our hearts may have broken
but they will grow again.
Sophia Robles is the winner of the 2020 Parallax Poetry and Fiction Scholarship. She is currently a junior at Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy (SASA) in the Creative Writing Concentration. Sophia’s work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing, Michigan Youth Arts Festival, Theodore Roethke Foundation, Perspectives Literary Journal, and more.
Art By: Heidi Songqian Li