The 100 Lines Between Child and Grown Up

I promised myself 100 times
that I was not a child any more:
when I crossed the street by myself.
when I made a friend without my mother
reading through the emails before I sent them,
dissecting our social interactions
like insects under a microscope.
when I put my brother to sleep,
tucking shadows up to his chin,
as my parents shouted in the kitchen.
when I stayed home alone
and for the first time
wished my parents would not come back.
When I turned 10, when I turned 13,
when I got out of the behavior modification school,
when I started to keep a log
of the things she threw and the threats she made,
when I, with my own money, bought three bags of cheap chocolate covered almonds
that looked like goose poop, and ate them all
in two days. When I didn’t tell anyone
and I didn’t tell anyone
and I didn’t tell anyone,
I tried to stand in the storm
and I promised myself
I was not a child anymore.
But when fears plaster over me
like pieces of papier-mâché,
when my words claw at my lungs,
when eye contact splices me open
like a split hair,
when my stomach is a cement mixer
churning with memories,
I curl up in a bathroom stall,
trace the constellations of cracks on the cloudy floor
and promise myself
that I am still a child.

Written for We Write Poems prompt 206.

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6 thoughts on “The 100 Lines Between Child and Grown Up

  1. i loved every word…. i can’t help but to imagine a child like the choochoo… i think i can i think i can…. as i’ve sed to myself 1000 times…

  2. Before I read this, I was curious, knowing you’re a teenager…how the view would look to you from only a few years up the tunnel versus an adult looking, well, further down the tunnel.

    I love the repetition (“When I didn’t tell anyone/and I didn’t tell anyone/and I didn’t tell anyone”) and your narrative constructed from both the little and big details. Your words seem older than your years.

    -Nicole

  3. This gave me chills – you write with such clarity and immediacy. I am really impressed, and am so enjoying making my way through your blog. I’d claim that I was even more impressed when I saw on your about page that you’re fourteen, except I fear I’d come across as ageist, for why shouldn’t a young teen write as well (or better) than any adult? Can an old lady of 36 nonetheless aspire to be like you when she grows up? 😉

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