by Sahasra Nistala
Let’s be honest here: we all know Taylor Swift is a much, much better wordsmith than any of us could ever hope to be. She’s this generation’s Walt Whitman! Anyway, after an evening listening to folklore on repeat, I asked myself a question: what if Taylor was just one of us? You know, another teen-writer-person submitting big bundles of poetry to Scholastic and acting all special and deep because our peers just don’t get it?
It would not be pretty.
“It’s too bad I’m not into short skirts and high heels,” said 13-year-old Tyra, looking at her reflection in the mirror. “I just wear t-shirts and sneakers like some sort of plebian.”
Tyra walked back into her room, where she could see directly into her best friend Drew’s room. Drew was working out with 100-pound dumbbells, even though he was also only thirteen. Tyra watched as the golden light of the sunset rippled off his muscles. She sighed. Drew had been her best friend since they were born. “Why can’t you see…you belong with me?” she whispered.
intoxicated stupor / my infantile cries / thighs chafing against leather seats / bartender in the back of my mind / suburbia fills my lungs / constricts my larynx / devils looking down on me // the garden gate of my past / it all comes rushing back / my sealed fate / night air & cold, distant stars / cut like a knife / i / am / not / fine / these / deep / wounds / this / cruel / summer
Another blow to the face. I crumple to the floor like a rag doll, my power leaving my body. And to think I used to be powerful, used to be the monster on the hill.
My daughter-in-law stands over me, an evil grin spreading over her sharp features. “It’s for the money,” she rasps with a raspy voice.
I cough weakly but somehow muster a hoarse whisper. “I…I never left you in the will.”
As the world goes dark, the last thing I see is her shocked, shocked countenance. Victory.
Then I wake up. It was all a dream.
c r e e p i n g
up on me
look like a 1950s
Drew’s piercing eyes gaze into my soul. My heart hammers in my chest like the bass drum he’s so good at playing. “You don’t get it, do you?” he asks, his voice strained. “I—I already love someone. You know that.”
Drew and I have had a lot of moments before, like that time when I told him he belonged with me and proceeded to punch the cheer captain in the face. And how could I ever forget about that time when we were fifteen and he told me he loved me—and I believed him? I can’t say I’ve ever felt this way before, though.
Hurt floods my brain, and tears fill my eyes with the intensity of a tidal wave. This has been going on for about a decade now—we’re twenty-two, and I don’t know if everything will be alright. “Drew, you’re the only thing that keeps me wishing—”
He looks at me for a few seconds more, his calloused hand against the doorframe, and then he’s gone.
My heart clenches. How could I have been so foolish to think my bandmate could have been anything more? As the others walk in, I run my hand across my face, wondering how I’m going to explain the teardrops on my guitar.