120 and nothing but an open road | Teen Ink

120 and nothing but an open road

August 1, 2023
By bugjuicepoetry ELITE, Fort Wayne, Indiana
bugjuicepoetry ELITE, Fort Wayne, Indiana
204 articles 19 photos 11 comments

I am a poet
and sometimes
I am afraid to write at all
poetry is stitched upon my skin
and the importance is the stitching
not the scars
But once they heal,
the question comes
is the scarring worse than the open wound?
Is survival worth
the constant reminder that
I am a poet
but you'll understand
to heal,
you first must speak it into being
and often I do not even have
the courage to acknowledge it's real

You are about to learn how your story ends
But first I'll tell you how it starts
communion wine: the taste of blood
band-aids and socks and scab-covered shins
alveoli filled with fluid; the question

How am I drowning on land?

the number twenty 

perfect twenty, twenty grams 

2020, April twenty-eighth 

Twenty-one: 9+10, pilots

You are about to learn how your story ends

but first, do you know how it's gone?

safety scissors and choppy hair

Laffy taffy boots and torn nails

pencil lead and a red and yellow

tarped water slide

cherry pits and almost-perfectly wedged clay

You are about to learn how your story ends

This is your last chance to exit the ride



this body aches

in a riverbed of longing

a year has come 

and another will go

and nothing has changed

I am still the one who remembers

the one they would rather leave behind

It's second grade and

I am the only girl in class

who didn't make it to the party

this body is a dry riverbed

that aches for water

it is 11:59 pm 

and I am singing happy birthday

to myself before the day ends

Because someone has to,

even if I'm the only one who remembers



I no longer live with a black hole inside of me

but sometimes it still shows its teeth

sometimes the only thing between me and heaven 

is a highway and there are days

where I still dream of getting out


I'm scared I'll turn out like my dad

in love with a highway

and trying to return to a home

that isn't there anymore

This isn't how it was supposed to be

echoing through an empty home

full of people

a salt-stained and sun-bruised daughter

left wishing she had something to offer besides

I'm sorry


I've lived in this town my whole life

but I can feel my father's urge to pack the boxes

in the bottom of my lungs

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This article has 1 comment.

gabs_w SILVER said...
on Aug. 6 at 7:54 pm
gabs_w SILVER, Portland, Oregon
9 articles 0 photos 94 comments
Woah. That’s one of those poems that stays with you. *aggressively smashes “favorites” button*