July 8, 2017

Lex Lizbeth Martin (age 14)

WE DON’T TALK ABOUT THAT

There is something in the water. There is something inside
of the walls. There is something inside of me shaped like you.
There is water between us, but we don’t talk about that. There is something
holding me under, but we don’t talk about that. There is someone
better than me, but we don’t talk about that.
I can build something for you. A sailboat, a machine. I can build
someone better for you. I can build us a world
with no graveyards. You told me that the dead don’t always stay dead. I can
build us a world where no one dies and we all live forever. That would be
lovely, wouldn’t it? Darling, come back to bed. You’re having another nightmare.
What is it this time? Did you dream about her? Did you dream about the water? Did you dream about
the monster inside of the walls? I never said it was a monster.
You never said I was a monster, but you told me that I have to start listening. That’s one of the
worst things about you. I love you, but you have to listen to me. I love you, but you have to trust me.
We don’t talk about that. I don’t
trust. There is something
floating in the water. There is something inside of me,
shaped like a box. Open the box. Close the box. Burn the box.
There are some things that have to remain secret. There are some things
that you keep hidden away, because she’s already having a bad day and she doesn’t
need to know that her father hurt her mother, that her father
won’t be coming home, that her father
will be dead soon.
There is something
that I can’t tell you.
“You can trust me. What is it?”
There are some things that you keep to yourself, like how I’m keeping
the love I have for you to myself. I keep it in a box. I keep it in a
hole, shaped like you.
“I said you can trust me. I am sick of you
eating the truth, swallowing it down and baring your teeth, like a monster.”
You don’t want to know.
“I do.”
I never stopped loving you, but you can’t say that kind of thing to
someone. I know you loved me, too, but we don’t talk about that.
I am a jealous, enraged thing, and I always have been. I know you
loved me, too, but you didn’t want to admit it. That’s okay. We all
have secrets. Some things
don’t work out. You learn these things when you grow up.
“It’s been fun but I have to go.”
Things are never permanent. You still
think about me. There is something
dead inside of your house, and I think it’s my fault.
There is something
inside of the walls.
There is something
that I haven’t said yet.
Open the box. Close the box. Burn the box.
There is something
that I haven’t said yet,
but we don’t talk about that.

from 2017 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

__________

Why do you like to write poetry?

Lex Lizbeth Martin: “I write poetry as an escape. I don’t know who I would be without poetry—I like writing it because it gives me a safe and effective way to express my emotions. It also helps me deal with my past experiences healthily.”