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you are as pretty as a star,
but unfortunately,
just like that celestial body,
you’re also a million miles away.
Riley OHalloran Dec 2019
The world is my oyster,
but it’ll be a long time
before I get any pearl to show for it.

I’ve gotten so impatient—
waiting and waiting,
prematurely trying to crack it open,
but it’s no use;
it’s stubbornly glued shut,
saving me from the dripping sand of potential.
I was so scared of not being enough that I forgot I still had all the time in the world.
Riley OHalloran Apr 2019
My backpack straps dig into my shoulders:
they burn with the weight.
I’m sick to my stomach,
and my throat still catches on thin air.
I just want things to ease up
or give me a break.

Mom comes with ginger ale;
we sit together in the car
and consider whether or not to
visit the doctor.
Riley OHalloran Apr 2019
I’d love to be more of a flirt—
tell girls that
they look lovely every time I think it.
I’d love to tell every
girl that takes my breath away
how she can go ahead and
sit on my lap or
whatever she wants.
I’d love to grab her around the waist
and slow dance and
sing love songs in her ear.
I’d love to, but
I won’t.
Riley OHalloran Apr 2019
I look up, out of the car window,
and somehow I forget that I am here
and not there,
and it’s a momentary relief
mixed with bewilderment,
but then it ends,
and I’m crushed by where I’m not.
I don’t believe in a location called ‘home,’
but I miss certain locations
more than others,
and I’d like to feel in place.

Isn’t the world supposed to be full
of people who are also
confused and out of place?
I’m not the only one,
the only alien on this odd planet,
but when I look around,
I still feel isolated.
Riley OHalloran Apr 2019
Chicago sounds lovely,
with new people places and things
I don’t yet know.
People around here say,
“Isn’t it cold there?
You’re going to get shot.
I bet your parents won’t like
you being so far from home.”

They don’t realize
that there are tunnels
and winter clothes.
They haven’t understood
that if I die,
I know exactly where I’m going,
and besides,
I was never promised safety.

My parents raised me to be independent,
and they didn’t try to push me to any
one school,
but when I showed them
the acceptance letter,
they called everyone.
They’ve been so excited,
and they think
this is a sign of success,
me going off and exploring and living freely.
Riley OHalloran Apr 2019
You leave offerings for a temperamental deity
and hope she doesn't ruin your life
like she's done a million times.
You keep doing it because there are days,
oh,
there are days,
there are days when she causes the sun to tan your face,
rain to nurture your crops,
and you love her so dearly,
your lady,
your mistress from above,
that you keep leaving food offerings,
writing prized literature,
singing songs,
giving everything.

She gives,
and she takes away.

I swear I try not to act so immortal.
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