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I never met the person
I wanted to be.

They say I’m here somewhere
that I should just go look and I’ll find him
but my head holds me back.

Instead, I sip lemonade
on the front porch. It tastes
like ash going down. One of my doubles
throws a red rubber ball around for the Grim.

In the first place, which we were
so quick to leave, I dreamed
Of metamorphosis. I shed
my thick caterpillar skin
and became something new.

Something that is white light,
the hottest star, a
lit candle saved
for when the power goes out.

The version of me I don't recognize,
that circus mirror copy,
throws the ball too far
over the head of the Grim
into the treeline. The Grim
barks, it sounds like fireworks.
Runs off and emerges later to drop
Spit-drenched ball at the feet of myself.

We both grimace darkly at the wetness.
This is the similarity between us.

Maybe our teeth
are covered in dust and fog.
Maybe the truth of ourselves
is not destined for an exact black,
or white, or colorful bright.

I consider the ramifications of this.
Take the new skin
this place has offered me and try it on.
To test what this feels like to live
stuck between this and that.

My twin throws the sloppy ball.

I sip my lemonade.

Cam Kelley is a poet, fiction writer, aspiring teacher, and undergraduate student from Southern Maryland. She likes to craft language that feels warm and reassuring. Her work can be found published in The Best Teen Writing of 2016 and Left of the Lake Magazine.
Current Issue
26 Feb 2024

I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
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