by Ellie L., 13

by Emma C., 15

it’s you, and it’s always been you, and
i don’t think that getting you out of my head changes the fact that
i lost my mind and gained my raison d’être
the plum-colored dusk you tore this lesson from my bleeding lips
and i swear, i swore i could fly, love
or grow flowers from my fingertips
soft epilogues can’t capture a singing swallow’s beauty

i was a warning sign, yellow triangles tattooed into my skin
and i wanted to tell you that you would regret it, to turn back now
but i felt the handcuffs chafing my wrists break the moment i
saw the unchained look in your eyes
the bass injecting illicit love into our veins
but none of that changed the fact that we were broken
we drank to the fact that the world couldn’t cage us
but we didn’t know the steel bars were ourselves

we made offerings of rainbow-coated baby’s breath to
the god(esse) of love
but there was no way
of knowing whether prayers or profanity would reach the heavens faster
and even though you
were bruised
like a crimson and auburn apple dropped
one too many times into despair
it’s always been you,

and the thrum of your ukulele
the night sky swimming your eyes
the taste of ruby-red cherries at dawn
the juice dribbling down your chin
and now i can’t get your song out of my heart
(my love, we were made to write out lyrics on paper napkins
name our fractured light the colors of the sky
and find a way to heal like
golden glowing apricots
we may be battered by rain but oh, we are worthy of the sun)

Summit, New Jersey