I’ve grown here, starry-eyed and dreaming. / A tree shaded the grass I laid on, / Reading books in the summer sun. / The second home I’ve ever known. 

And although the sun  / may not shine directly on you, / don’t you dare forget that  / you have the moon. 

Because the truth is we only have each other / when the sky goes dark, and the night is black / and all we can see is the skyline of Chicago. 

We gaze upon Mother Nature’s face at every turn. / She smiles back through every glimmer of the river, / and through every inhuman screech that dwells in the woods. 

I would light up like a carnival. / Catchy tunes blocked out by horror / as I parade around in my own darkness. 

I don’t know / the first time / I hated you / maybe / it was the way I / had stomach rolls / and other girls / had bikini bodies / 

Suspended in motion by / the weight of imagination, / burdened with being the only / one with this knowledge. 

Every mirror I look into looks back at me differently, / something to do with an infinite possibility. 

The water gleams. A Caribbean-blue rainbow of teal, cobalt, and indigo. / I am in Heaven. 

Red rivers flow, and fog glazes her eyes. / Two sockets sunk like craters in the sky. / Her pale, dull face numb and dry. /

I have a thought, but it eludes me. / I find it, catch it, then I fumble— / It slips out of my grasp, spills, shatters like a cup of tea. 

I saw it on the TV last night: /

they built their towers of dollar bills in the sand, / took a joyride into space, rocketed into the stratosphere, / and watched the world grow small beneath their weightless feet. 

I pick at the skin around  

my nails, a replacement for biting  / them, and sometimes I am surprised to  / find my skin still soft. 

You say you’re sorry that I’m Deaf. / It’s rude somehow, I must confess. / Our world is made for people like you, / All things designed with sound, it’s true. 

My hands tremble whenever /
I have too much caffeine or / I think too much. 

The same shoulders shake 

as jokes tumble down them, / sending laughter, like / landslides, / into the next generation. 

I am lost in the unforgiving world, forgotten, / made to lose. Like the cherry blossom— / longing and / shame shed from my branches, rotten. 

I blink and there it is. / Carried by the gust is a tiny butterfly. 

They never hatch. / Countless suns wrap around them, / yet they remain still. 

I visited the graveyard of roses today. / Where 1,270 new roses were planted, / one for every second of the day. 

Skin shades of supermarket lemons, and if you / were to lick it, you would taste how sour it is / to be yellow under white stars and red stripes. 

she burned / me with the spark struck between us 

thirteen years of peace before girls started pointing out / how your skin wrinkles as it stretches your legs— 

Rainbows have formed from the light that has passed through your / old soul. 

I don’t hear voices / there is only one voice / it is my voice / yes / my voice spoken aloud 

Strong willed with a fighter’s mentality, / but minds weighed down by stress and worry / that others will never / see. 

The rooster crows, but there is no heavenly dream to awake from, only a hellish nightmare.