Growth Chart//Chalk Marks
You don’t grow into beauty, you remember it.
Because we are the afterlives of beautiful things.
Because our skin covers the space that has always been around us. Because we wait for what is visible but it’s always been there. The picture finally fitting the frame.
That’s why Giulio took my mother’s hand
after she cried for Salvatore,
never having met each other before,
him, only two years old.
And you are perfect no matter which ears you got.
Everyone fighting over a piece, a parcel
of your familiar face.
You look like you were born with the sea crashing in both of them anyway. You look like you belong here.
Set For Life
The scratch-off pulls slightly with the wind at
the base. Half buried, it tugs and she blows.
Three or four white pebbles steady.
The kind you only see in fish tanks, and other
small worlds. The ones that feel encased, set,
and bubbling. Bay Parkway yells its smells.
There is a map of when my nose closes
and opens, when my head aches and
clears. I could close my eyes and still
make it to the bakery, the train station,
the cemetery. Expiring fruit and wet cardboard,
Halal food from the cart, warm bread, the
steam of precisely ironed pants, fish
dethawing in heat, cats in heat, the breath of
an anxious hustler speaking softly into a
cell phone, heated. Then, the earth’s tar
slapped surface opens up and reveals angels
like: he who stares fixedly in the window,
in a shirt the same color as the fleshly pink
chickens with their legs spread,
spinning on a skewer, the one under the yellow
umbrella, selling PPE, ass slid down to
the edge of the chair. And the face,
wide open, dry hair spreading up and far,
hands suspended over a green trash can.
The light reflects off of the translucent bag
creating a halo. Our eyes lock, she lowers,
takes a bottle, heads off. Heaven ends.
Dragging nectar from the honeysuckle
flowers growing through the fence from your
neighbor’s yard with our lips tight and our tongues strong, I earned your trust and you, my obsession.
Pulling your face together in mock
disgust, you suck your teeth and tsk tsk
me when chew the petals of
juiced corpses which sour my mouth.
“They’re right, you are like a little monkey!” You’re smiling, and your eyes are warm but still,
I fill with shame and we’re silent for a moment,
laying in the grass as our mothers voices
waft from the kitchen to your large backyard.
They are so happy, speaking their
first tongue, two fashionable ladies who feel as if
they’ve raised both their daughters and their mothers. It
does not matter what they say to each other,
so much as the intonation and breath
that string each word along.
Turning onto your right cheek to face me,
you tell me your name means clear, like crystal,
and I gently push the base of my palm
into your hairless, suntanned arm.
“Sorry, clear.” I giggle. “It’s just that
I saw right through you.” Ignorance from injury.
“Like a crystal,” you say, as you calmly pick
an ant from my hair, “not a window.”
Isabella is a writer, photographer, and dancer in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate student at The City College of NY, working towards her Master’s Degree in English Literature. She is the author and editor of her zine Quarterly Quarters. Follow her on Twitter @isabellasayit2x and on Instagram @isabellasayittwice.