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annie Apr 4
after joy harjo

there is a lawn where the sun
beats down
                   at exactly the right angle.
sweat beads on my brow and
in between              our hands
but the spaces between my spine
are loose and warmed
                                    like honey.
there is a field inside my heart where
wildflowers spring
from the ground,
leaves green like your shoelaces and
the sky is blue for miles. i can’t see the end of it
and the wind    
                    sails through
my lungs with ease.
                                not a bitter wind,
not one of bite and sting
but one that carries your smile.
              a gust that is swollen with
the way our feet tangle together
underneath the table.
my bare ankle brushing yours.
annie Apr 4
after donika kelly

The golden plating began to flake off.
Grimy hands throw you away and
a piece of you breaks.

To be an in-between only.
Never the end goal,
never the beginning spark, just
the middle of the day.
No sunrise or sunset. High noon
as they begin to head home.

You become lost,
collecting dust in corners that
have only seen shadows
in the years before.
Become left behind, a forgotten part,

become something that isn’t difficult to replace.
portfolio piece
annie Apr 4
this is supposed to be a prayer—
but earlier today i stepped on a clump of flowers
that i saw months ago bursting into the sky.
so i went to clasp my hands to pray but the flowers
withered, smashed into cement, into
pollen and dust. so now all i can think
that stepping on the flowers was
the same as stepping on myself.

this is waltzing around the idea of praying
but Michigan winters are
brutally cruel cycles of freezing and melting
and I just don’t know
if i’m liquid enough yet.

this is a wretched sigh
of a prayer
for the sun to drag across the
sky once more but i don’t know
if i can keep repeating myself. the frost is burning
my fingers together
tip to tip one by one-

sometimes i think my dreams are the prayers that i can’t spit out.
last night i slept to the memories of crickets whirring
outside of my window. slept to the golden syrup light i haven’t
seen for what could be days or months or years.
and when i dream of those things
all i can do is pray
that somebody is listening-
maybe, graciously,
with their head bowed and hands grasped together
mirroring my whispers as the earth tilts back to the sun.
part of my portfolio
annie Apr 4
hey, did you know they guilt me into not using straws
but when i ask what they’re doing
for the brown people whose lives are
consistently ****** over by climate change,
who aren’t just stopped from hiking on their favorite mountain because
all the snow has melted,
because for some reason the white men at the top of ladder
decided they want mount everest green instead of frozen even tho
they’ll have to face bodies of dead guides
(who are brown)
but the hikers
(who are not)
who won’t listen to anyone
just have to take over every part of the earth, even
the uninhabitable,
so even when they’re faced with their crimes
from skeletons that spoke a different language
because who cares, who will notice,
they’ll just be glad that they can wear their nike shorts
all 29,029 feet in the air.

and hey, did you ever notice that they care about the earth
but all of their friends are named emily and hannah and marie and their
hair is as straight as the thermometer that tells me
it’s 100 degrees outside in the middle of october
and bro they’re still talking to me about the ******* turtles
but can they not see the kalamazoo river downtown where there’s no fish
and the oil chokes the shoreline and you have to close your car window
because it smells so retched and oh, yeah, of course the neighborhood around it
is largely people of color but they
just really want you to save the turtles, you know, they’re like, so important
to the ecosystem and i’m sure they are
but i just don’t know.

it’s almost impossible for me to care about plastic vs. paper
when i don’t think my nephew will have the same earth day celebration
as i did in elementary school because nothing
is green anymore and we just keep talking in circles
about the oceans but haven’t you realized that i’m not the one
sending all of that carbon dioxide into the sky
even with how much i talk? haven’t
they realized i’m only one person and maybe
every person counts but when i look around it really only seems like
if you’re brown then it’s your fault, and never them,

at the top, with all the money, cause that’s their daddies, and that’s okay,
but if that’s the case
then i’m gonna use a ******* plastic straw if i want to.
part of my final portfolio for my poetry sem
annie Nov 2019
we grasp hands at the table and everyone
says what they're thankful for but how am i supposed to
tell them that i'm grateful for every time
we hold hands and we're a little sweaty cause we're
both nervous. am i supposed to just say
that i love when you stretch and a little
bit of your stomach shows? somehow, i think that
my grandma wouldn't approve of the way i
watch your hair flow over your shoulders
almost obsessively
or the way your smile makes my
chest warm.
annie Nov 2019
so here's the thing:
I am always performing but
only for you.
       I give you my heart, raw and burning
while we lie on the floor face to face but you look away
       and wish for hers.

I want you to see me
and see.
marvel at my one untied boot.
I want you to see me.
smile at my chipped nail polish.
I want you to see me
and notice the one curl on the nape of my neck.
          I want you to see me and see.

Look at your heart.
I know it reflects someone else but
god what I would give
for you to watch my lips like I watch yours.
annie Sep 2019
i left you but i'm not angry-
in fact it almost tore me to pieces.
but now i get to grow and you get to grow and maybe
one day our pieces can intertwine once again.
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