05 March, 2011

on being seventeen

the people that you love
think they know they think
they remember being you
conversations like cheese

graters & you’re the cheese
they shred you & they
don’t even notice the fine
white pieces as they chew

& you fear the boy you love
will grow up to be a man
you don’t want to want him
you don’t want to watch him

turn into your father & you don’t
want him to see you becoming
your mother & being seventeen
& the oldest means leaving

or staying & shredding
into thin white curls on the family
kitchen counter but how can you
leave when you’re only seventeen

& adult means knowing more than
you they must know something
you need to & being seventeen
& a woman (in this borrowed

body) is not what you had hoped
the body tricks you in the most
unexpected ways who would know
how you ride its fierce insistence

how your thoughts become all bone-
less liquid slow when inside you feel
so hot & hard & sharp words
slice you like thick white cheese

& you’re only seventeen
but watching them you know
what you must not become
but you know they said the same so how

do you get out?

~ ~ Sharon Brogan