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Poetic Justice: Julia Lee

 

57 STARS
by Julia Lee

There were 57 stars in the sky that night

Not obscured by our cities light

And I counted them seven times seeking a different number

My little sister says there are six

Pointing past the streaks the motel lights leave in our eyes

 

Our feet asphalt stained and bare

Are a resemblance as precise as similar polygons

Two shapes with the same color hair

Reach wobbly armed for oblivion

And extract 57 stars

But six

Must be by far more correct

Repeated with insistence that is by far more difficult to reject

Six stars

The same number I tally all of us into

Half the number she currently can take inventory to

A struggle past 13

Still avoiding unlucky numbers

Still avoiding letters outside of the alphabet

Still outside of grasping a mosaic family

Outside of understanding its unconventional beauty

Not outside of grasping its beauty

 

I type the seven letters belonging to her into a search engine

Memorize the denotation

And tell her your name means fighter

You are my little warrior

 

Around the edges of her face weave perfect curls

Which I let dangle and frame

her cheeks

I braid them

Wheaty waves

Over and under like basket parts

Falling as perfectly twisted as bean sprouts

Coils only someone with flat iron hair as unintentional as mine could handle with such admiration

Braids winding around my little warrior’s head

Sunlight glints off this crown as we stroll naming buildings

“Not hospotatoe!”

She yells

Big girls say hospital

Next exclaiming at the “hairplane” in the sky

 

My little sister

Can count to twelve

Can count to five as many times as there are stars in the sky

Naming each finger

Mommy, daddy

Sister finger

Can’t whisper, my little sister

Can make text books into wonderlands

Of colors, trees, and squiggles

Can memorize every song I thought I knew

And for goodness sake

“Can sing it by herself, Julia”

 

My little sister can weave better than me

can braid entire families together

Can stitch across ravines

Unwind misconception

Lead battered braves against fear

Arrange disjointed spokes on a hub

My little sister is a warrior

 

And climbs into bed between her sisters

Completing each time a delayed confluence

“I hear your heart” she says

And veins convene, pumping round head, heart

Trunk, limb,

Lacing through fingers, into backs, down spines

And in the dark we lay

indistinguishable

Twisted as tree roots

Unable to discern the stem of any of our many small hands and large feet

Us three breath

Glued bellies to backs

In sweat and breath

“I hear your heart she says”, feel mine

And I do, so happily entwined.

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POETIC JUSTICE is a compilation of poems by FirstWord.

FirstWord meets every Monday at 4pm at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale, CO.

It is free to participate and open to all Roaring Fork Valley students 21 and under.

Writers of all experience levels are welcome to join.

Questions? Contact Aspen Words.

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