When She Sits Next to Me

When She Sits Next to Me

All at once she makes me sick to my stomach, and
also feel like I’m Superman or something, and
my palms are dripping faucets; and
somehow even my eyeballs sweat.

Has she always worn her hair like that?
Is that a new dress?

I sink deep into my seat, and
even though I haven’t figured it out,
I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do trig again.
A weakness of the knees;
a quickness of the heart, and
my face hurts from all this smiling!

My IQ and my heartbeat
have an inverse relationship now, and
I swear she smells like sunshine and strawberries, and
everything that is light and joy and summer and perfection, and
why do I suddenly care how my hair looks? And
why do I hear her name in every song I hear? And
why, when she sits next to me, do I do everything I can
to avoid making eye contact?

I fumble my pencil as I think,
it feels like there’s a first period pop quiz and I didn’t read; but
it’s more than a crush –
crushed is how I feel when she walks hand in hand with Taylor.
It must be, regardless of what my older brother says,
inescapable, undeniable, and
unrequited
love.

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Scrub My Skin

Scrub My Skin

Imagine me with freckles
In a world of unmarked faces
A world of unscarred, creamy,
Smooth skin…

This poem isn’t about color –
It’s acknowledging feeling like
An other.

Like, there I am with freckles
Not like I want freckles
I hate the way they photograph,
But they’re there.
They’re me.

And suddenly, everyone’s all
“Freckles just don’t look normal!”
“I knew a guy in college with freckles,
But I just don’t want my kids around them…”
“Maybe your freckles are just a phase?”
“Freckles are reckless and infectious!”

So now I try to hide them.
Wherever I go.
Whenever I’m out.

I even scrub my skin until it’s raw.
Until I think they’re gone.
Crying, trying to hide them
Pretending I don’t have spotted skin.
Concealer doesn’t work.
There’s nothing I can do, though,
I have freckles!
I was born with them,
Or maybe some showed up as I got older –
Plus, they always show through
Any trick I try.