“You’re Standing in Line for a Drink” by Damaris Caballeros

Damaris Caballeros (age 15)


a fruity one that you’ve been craving for the past day and a half
there’s a woman in a pantsuit in front of you
getting more and more agitated with the person on her phone
there’s a man in workout clothes behind you
breathing heavily, his chest heaving from his last run
and you’re here in between them
knowing your mom is parked in front of the store
waiting for you to order and come back
but the closer you get to the front, the clammier your hands are getting
you can hear your heart beating faster and faster in you
and suddenly you feel like one shoelace is too tight
and the other from the left shoe is too loose
your eyes don’t know what you look at
your mouth is producing too much saliva
and your brain completely forgets the name of your drink
but now it’s your turn and the woman in front of you is on the other side
you step forward, breathe and say,
“one small triple berry smoothie please”
the employee smiles and takes your payment
not noticing your inner turmoil
you move to the other side with the woman
and exhale
congrats, you did it

from 2023 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Damaris Caballeros: “I like poetry because it allows me to express my emotions through a form of writing that has no rules or restrictions. I can reflect on my life experiences and put into paper what I feel like I can’t say to others.”

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