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rachel g Sep 2014
yesterday my feet rested comfortably on the bar of someone else's chair
and my eyelids slid heavy and the world seemed slow
a graph of survivorship curves glowing blurry on the whiteboard
and then words slid from behind a neatly trimmed white beard
". . . .as our bodies are programmed to die."

as our bodies are programmed to die.

thousands of miles away
one gleaming thought against a murky sky
(that's how i imagine it anyway--murky, cold,
stagnant air)
a frantic explosion of lean muscle power
and a body launching into the lake.

he was 17 and in that moment gears somewhere in this world shifted,
numbers were crunched and
some profound device processed the seconds, linking and unlinking them with an automatic, well-oiled certainty

he was 17 and the number on his football jersey suited him like wool socks on winter feet
his stride under the lights a weekly prize to all hungry, bleacher-ed, washed-up life-hunters bundled against october-night chill-streaked skies
they drank hot cocoa and he took three sips of gatorade

he was 17 and his smile
and his curls

and we all hear about hospitals but
this feels different because
he was 17 and suddenly,
his body was just a beep
and his skin turned the color of the walls

first the ICU painted quick brushstrokes across his wrists
then it stopped giving a **** at all

and the water rushed endlessly, heartlessly.

when I shift through memories and
find his seven-year old face in my mind, i remember a gap
where he'd lost a front tooth and i remember sunlight streaming behind his hair
it was valentine's day and he gave me a small smile and a silver charm bracelet in a powder blue box.

i shifted my feet
heard the snap of a binder closing
and all i could think about was
the oversimplification of words
and survivorship curves
and 17 years


piles of numbers spurting from a computer

and an echo of a splash.
this felt strange for me but for some reason i needed to write it. and though i don't like dedicating or even offering any explanation of my poems, this one's different, so i'd like to say that
this one's for MC.  he was a boy that glowed--so bright that even elementary-school me, who didn't know a ******* thing about glowing, figured it out.

they're right, man. they aren't bullshitting anyone when they say you were a selfless hero--you were the minute you entered this world, and even though you moved away years ago i remember you with this strange pang somewhere inside. i wonder if you'd remember me too.
rachel g Sep 2014

my big brother came through the door, hoodie up,

L close behind--
a farm girl,
small features
warm eyes
Bean boots and rough hands,

i could smell the cigarettes and the new cash in his pocket.

he showed me the pipe he'd fashioned out of driftwood

the one thick silver band on his left pointer finger glinting warmth from the dining room light

and in a drunken haze i wondered if there was anything in the world he couldn't do.


she set the canvas bag on the counter,
and out came heirloom apples,
and mittens
and fresh honeycomb in an old plastic container,
label worn and peeling from all the hours it had traveled, and i thought suddenly and strangely
of all the times it'd been placed in bags as an afterthought, left in the backseat of a golden texas-plated '95 corolla
                                                *(an alien up here)

warming between biodegradable soaps and pottery filled with sprouting seeds,
how many raindrops it had shed sitting on the front steps of an old clapboard house.
rachel g Sep 2014
their words taste sweet
like an uncorked bottle of wine
sipping from mason jars
the glow of candlelight on swirled wooden grains

we lay in bed
blankets tangled between us
laughter and sadness
just one more year and we can feel the time in our hands

emerson and whitman
rachel g Jun 2014
There's nothing like the quiet of the
world at three in the morning. It's about
a cushion-y, not-quite-fill-your-throat
kind of darkness, and it's comforting
to know that everyone around you is
supposed to be asleep.

You're alone in the world and
each breath you take is all yours.
Nothing is expected of you in those moments,
and you don't expect much from
yourself. You sit in the warmth of
blankets and stare out into the velvety
air, dreaming waking dreams about
everything you want and need, and
only your beating heart can disturb you.
And when the birds start chirping and
pre-dawn gray bathes the earth,
you can shift your position and smile at
the trees with dry lips and a welcome
sense of quiet--of the feeling of long,
winding roads and wind through your hair.
rachel g Jun 2014
"it's been a while,"
she said with a smile as she overlooked the
foggy silence of the surrounding space.
rachel g Jun 2014
He was a good boyfriend. You could tell by the way he smiled when he was around her--cherry blossoms and good music and the pink glow of a June sunset. His skin was brighter, his face softer, and if you peeked under the desk you’d find their bare ankles intertwined.

A mop of curly red hair--the kind of hair that confuses you at first. The kind that calls for tousling. Darker eyebrows, straight and strong on his forehead.

She had the tip of her thumb in her mouth, resting between her teeth. Aqua nail polish bright against her tanned skin. Her glasses were small and rectangular, not the thick black frames that you were accustomed to seeing on kids nowadays. Her smile was crooked, her face rounded and cheeks scrunched in a laugh, that glorious squeeze of muscles working. Synapses firing. A bony shoulder curved under a thin t-shirt.

He stared at her as she leaned over her paper, small fingers gripping a pink pen, all right angles. She wrote ferociously and his eyes beamed soft and he marveled at the size of her slender pinky. His fingers interlaced behind his head, his elbows triangles pointing toward the ceiling tiles.

In his mind he reached over and grasped her hand, the smallness of it, his palm against its smooth back. He watched as she let the pen slip to the table. The small clatter. The rustle of skin and clothes. The silence of the gaze behind a curtain of escaped hair.

There was a quick kiss, and nothing more. A curly mop bent towards a dark-haired temple, eyes closed. Lips pressed against skin, and time in the room seemed to slow, bending backwards through the sunlight floating in through open windows.

A sigh like velvet, and a grin. The tap of a keyboard across the room.
rachel g Oct 2013
it's been a while,
and i'm not sure what to say.
things have changed
i wonder if you'll all remember what I used to be,
if you'll remember me,
because i can't remember who i was a week ago,
let alone last year.

i'm eating homemade granola
left from my camping solo
and all i taste is
the faint twang of bear vault
and wet pine needles.
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