“Gray” by Valerie M. Smith

Valerie M. Smith (grade 12)


I remember how her small ankles
would guide her feet
to sun-bathing rocks
nestled in sea water
and pelican coffee breaks.
Her arms would bleed
from their gagged mercy
protruding from the sea,
gray hearts longing
for her precious liquid life.
We’d spread out our ribs
on these rocks,
feeling them push into our skin.
Too shy for bathing suits
and the sun’s soothing rays,
we’d sleep
wrapped in California dreams
and familiar arms and legs
that counted a mystical four
instead of a lonely two.
No better human pillows ever existed.
This was the sin
that parents should scorn
because she possessed me
like she possessed beauty.
It was all the life
I felt to be lived
in mysterious oceans of eyeliner.

from Rattle #9, Summer 1998
Tribute to Children

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