they tell me about the boy

the same way they say / tell me
about how you threw yourself
out of a second story window / only sprained
your ankle / come on / you didn't
really mean to kill yourself / tell me about
the deer in your headlights / it careening
into your windshield still
desperate with life / still flailing
blood / how you dreamed of dying
as roadkill for the / longest time after

you're supposed to
write what you know / so know it:
here is the box under my bed / here are
the yearbook signatures that
bled into my memory / here is the hole
I dug out of my chest / I want to be
memorialized / like this
forever / yearning and hungry
to be understood

with no misconceptions about
whose side I was on / I've always been
on my own / and for the fossil record:
I picked you / not the other way
around / it was careless / blindly
digging through the
dollar bin / plucking something
out eyes closed / and
being surprised by its beauty / you /
in soft focus / light like
stained glass bathing you
untouchable / knowing you
was / like opening the window
after a long winter or getting knocked
off your feet by a wave / the sand gritty in
your scalp and / between your thighs for
days afterwards

I watched you into
nighttime rhapsody / I tricked myself into
sleeping / sometimes I got up in the middle
of the night / caught my
reflection on the way to the bathroom /
and there in the orange wedges of
early morning / I was ugly and
half-formed / drooping with
the effort of remaining up-right

when you have cancer
your body may see / other parts
of your body as foreign invaders
and attack / and that is what this was:
me / and you / and not knowing
the difference / eating alive parts of myself
I didn't recognize / leaving me unwhole and
miserable / taking you apart / sick
with guilt

I am not a nice girl /
I know this with the bleary
blind certainty of someone who has been
told one thing over and over / I did this
to your heart / it was a hit-and-run / I didn't
stop long enough to even comprehend
the pieces I scattered you into / just
continued into the woods / tripping
over my haste / wanting / more than
anything / for you to call after me.

Serena Lin is a junior at Moorestown Friends School. She is the co-editor in chief of Bitter Melon Magazine, an online literary magazine of art, prose, and poetry. Currently, she spends her meager free time eating bagels and walking her dog, Ruby. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761