I Cannot Forget Her

pasty linoleum,
fish-eyed fifteen year-olds,
cluttered restroom counters,
cafeteria milk cartons
crunched into Stonehenge
monuments through
the halls

days in tinsel town
when the future
was unpredictable
but we weren't

you and I weren't

smashing lockers,
tears in bathroom stalls,
shirts ripped untucked,
up-dos after laughed-at
attempts to curl my
hair on my own,
long and angry letters,
cold and bitter shoulders,
shrinking away into
spaceless corners, wherein
I prayed you couldn't
find enough air
to say the things
you said to me

making jokes you said
you never meant,
making jabs you said
would make me stronger

a day after you told me my hair
was ugly long,
I chopped all of it off
and couldn't look at myself
in the mirror without wanting
to cry

I loved you like a sister
because you had great moments,
moments that are harder
for me to remember

if you knew how many times
I've written about you,
how many times you've influenced
everything I've ever said
and everything I've ever done
since then . . .

I don't know how you'd feel

grown up, we talk,
mostly about what's important,
we can have a conversation
without it ending in a fight now

but now and again
I can see that tone in your sentences,
feel my heart tremble,
feel myself shrink away
because everything comes back

I catch myself grabbing
at my shoulder-length hair
and catch tears I
didn't realize were coming

the girl you were still haunts me
and I cannot forget her

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