"Mourning Wind"

Nipher Middle School
St. Louis County, MO

fell in love
with the girl who slept on
park benches
never had a sign, or
bucket for change,
just a smile twirling on
her lips.

She was once the girl who
doodled poems on the backs
of music sheets,
crisscrossing patterns
on homework assignments.

But the sticks and stones
they threw
broke her bones
and the words
left bruises
on paper skin, and
paintbrush hair, gone dry
till the rain poured,
cleansed the bench in the park.

She was once that girl
bare feet dancing on
arms spiraling
into nonexistence, and
she formed the flowing galaxies,
beyond our little bubble
of plastic sky.

she said she’d rather
live free
not confined
to concepts of
true love, only love
true romance, only romance,
ideals forced upon.
She was her own.

My plea,
to society
to the girl lost
to the girl
who couldn’t care less
about herself—
I hid from society’s gaze
on underground
subway trains,
riding to nowhere
but they laughed at my cries.
“Life isn’t fair.”

Crisscrossing patterns
the subway routes,
and poems spray-painted
on concrete walls.

She said she’d rather
live free
her bones broke down, and
her skin went cold;
bare feet dancing on
story spiraling
into nonexistence, and

they’d never know
her name
they’d never know—

she’d never know—

I had “loved” her.