19

You are, almost
Tell me your first memory of happiness.

Maybe a swing set above wood chips or
collecting ladybugs in your pockets or
a perfectly cut sandwich you didn’t make
or the smell of grass mixed with chlorine
and sunscreen coating your skin under
a sky brighter than any future imaginable.
Pink frosting from cake dyes palms
into a canvas of sugary pigment
A popsicle melting down between
the webbing of eager fingers
Teeth are covered in chocolate and
face a mess and
all smiles,
it is funny how joy always seems
to be synonymous with
sweetness and
giggles and
the memory of being too young to remember anything fully.

19 is poison for a clock
it is reminder to wake up
after pretending to be
something you were not for too long
time is eating away the comfort
from your bones, I wonder
does candy still taste like candy
when it has grown stale?
when the shell has cracked and
all that remains is what’s inside,
is it still desirable then?
will people still want to know
what you feel like against their tongue
after you’ve already touched the ground?

The same texture but time
has made its evidence on you tangible
The juice once spilling from your hands
has become wine
The summer sparklers have become remnants of
cigarettes on your nail buds,
ashes of trying to forget,
you are no longer afraid of fireworks
the hairbrush holds another version of yourself,
a near stranger with similar freckles who
once insisted on only wearing dresses,
now you struggle just to get shoes on,
it was easier when someone did it all for you,
everything is, that way.
I don’t know when laughing became
a side effect instead of a soundtrack but
it still rings familiar, sometimes.

19 is more sour than lost
it is possible to know whereabouts with
a bitterness between your lips but
not all of your past is disintegrating
there is a love for saccharine that still remains,
more honey than cloying and
19 may be taunting down a candle to its wick
asking to be noticed but
it is ready to be uncovered
19 is golden
You are, almost.

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