“After graduation, you will change a hundred
times over, like a revolving door, a waterfall.”
You will get younger before you get older.
You will look inward, stoneward. One day
you will feel beautiful. This will expand you,
engulf you. You will be a polished pane. You will
feel ugly and unworthy on other days, but this
will not sit with your new soul-skin, mirror-thin.
You need not have worried at age sixteen:
you will have boyfriends. You will break up
with them awkwardly. You will then look
outward, seaward. You will learn the names of
twelve failed states. You will be tired of it all.
You will discover Rilke, Kinsella, Komunyakaa.
They will herald a new hunger: words, wishbones,
white water, white sand. You will be loud
sometimes. You will stop wanting marks
and medals. This will frighten you. You will suffer
from depressive symptoms and you will explode
with anger. Twice. You will cut the cool kids
from your life. You will lose an uncle and a grandfather.
Their funerals will be in a language that is foreign
to your ears. You will find ways to obtain
your new wants: hubcaps speckled with outback
ochre, Earl Grey on the banks of the Otter,
scissor-sharp Remarkables, San Franciscan sunsets,
paper lanterns dancing under a Casablancan sky.
You will be an unpolished pebble. You will
throw yourself into the deep. Moss green,
feet first, eyes wide open. You will cause ripples.
Shirley Lu works in the field of special education by day and reads poetry by night. Her favourite poets include Carson, Michaels, Ondaatje, and Kinsella. She also writes poetry. Her poems appear in Freckled Magazine, Thistle Magazine, A Hundred Gourds, and elsewhere.