i am living the wrought iron fence american dream.
when i stroll through the neighborhood, i wave to everyone i see,
even the dog-walkers who sneak in from the main road.
i have acquiesced to the habit of asking questions
without really caring about the answer, and
i used to pick worms off the sidewalk the morning after rain
hoping to feel something, but i didn’t, so i stopped, and
the greatest bone-crushing blow to my prospects
is that i was not enthralled by a talent as exacting as mathematics,
or science; what is the formula for creating beautiful art—i don’t know—
and what has creation ever done for me?
my yard ends precisely where yours begins.
i used to pick dandelions and bring them to my mother
and when i went back outside, she threw them away;
i always thought that it was devastating, but it turns out that
it happens to everyone. it’s a hardship we all share:
the privileged tragedy of our day.
i type a careful combination of thirty-six words about myself;
it’s a foolish dance, and i am ashamed.
it all seems like a pseudointellectual lie, but
twelve years plus one of schooling has taught me
the importance of clinging to Martian formulas.
in the Well-Developed Youth Program, we read a story
about an alien race that came to earth to tell us
our numerical system was all wrong. since then,
i’ve privately held the belief that it’s true.
my grief counselor told me about a girl who used to dance
in front of her window at night, and i couldn’t stop thinking
about the supermarket, with the live lobsters in the glass tank.
i used to pick my favorites and want to take them all home
but now i spare them a wistful glance, careful not to tap the glass.
Anastasia Nicholas is an eighteen-year-old journalism student. She has been published in Assonance, Canvas, Glass Kite Anthology, and Inkwell, and her poetry has received statewide awards. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is her celebrity crush.