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Posted December 19th, 2018 by Swallowtail

by swallowtail
in new york/massachusetts

behind my bed, flush against the wall, are crates. one holds books: school textbooks of architecture and history, languages and math, spilling with knowledge and crossed over and over by frustrated pencils. there are books of my own there too, fairy tales with gilded pages, old lovely poems, memoirs, classics, political journalism, myths and legends, shakespeare. some are new, glossy covers and stiff spines, thin lily-white paper, edges sharp enough to cut. the others are old: faded, dog-eared yellow pages, some stained with tea or something else, lines crossed over, ink blots on the edges, soft cloth covers. the insides sometimes have little notes: library stamps, the latest September 27, 1936, inscriptions and dedications (Beatrice R. Nov 18, 1918, “June” From “Nana Bates” July 4, 1927, Florence W.). the books sit in a jigsaw pattern, lined up together, stacked on top, blue on red on green on grey.

    the other crate is taller and narrower, the wood lighter. in there are my yearbooks (against the back wall), my sketchbooks (flat on the bottom), my pens and pencils, erasers, highlighters, paperclips, stapler, stamps, envelopes, rolls of tape, (a green basket in the back left corner). in front of that is my makeup: liquid eyeliner, brow pencil, red lipstick, concealer, and my hair brush, bobby pins, hair ties. a brown bottle of essential oil (tangerine) sits nestled among these things. between the green basket and the right wall is a bar of coconut chocolate, bought for a friend who will never receive it. against the right wall is a fat yellow folder, which contains my memories. in it are letters, notes, trip envelopes made for me, trail markers from mountain days, valentines day messages, pages i wrote song lyrics or quotes from my classmates on. there are playbills, pages of scripts, lists of everyone at my school and their phone numbers, maps of chicago and detroit, the page of everyone and their mandatory therapy groupings, every schedule for every term I’ve spent here. there’s art I’ve done of myself, art others have done of me, art i’ve done of others. between many of these things are pressed flowers from important days: when sadie and I sat with the newborn cows as the sun set, when they told us owen was dead, when georgia and I swam in the quick river on a late february day, when i roamed the winter woods for hours, got lost among the snow and silent, and found perfectly preserved flowers for my trouble.


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