Eighteen by Charlotte Force

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baby-pink me had candy floss cheeks and lemon cotton candy spun hair
and squishing and squashing i spun a new she
an in between almost-me tapestry
and i spun myself so fast that i’m more
like myself in my baby pink days than the girl that played dress up
only a minute ago when i was
eight
and had a blue kimono and i wore
it until my mother had to steal it from me in the dead
of night to put it in the wash and like that
kimono i tried on costumes and attitudes like skinny
jeans in my
thirteens
i listened to 80s rock and other people more than myself
except when it came to literary analysis
and parted my hair at my ear and gave myself fake
highlights and pink highlights and nightlife and fake
friends and friends i knew
until i was
fourteen
and made it to art class and history class and eight page essays
and bibliographies and libraries and watercolor stains and friends i still love
and have like the music i’ve now bought on vinyl and music
i danced to when i was
sixteen
and musicals i couldn’t sing and musicals
i’ve seen on broadway twice and flowers
planted in my mother’s garden and making
crepes for my friends and crafting
poems because most of all i am a story
teller and every cloak i ever donned was a story
that i can now tell and those stories are the pieces of me
at
seventeen
i don’t recognize myself in the mirror of my memory
from the age of ten to sixteen
but somehow those homespun layers and pillow fort phases
collected look a whole lot like me
and baby-pink me had candy floss cheeks and lemon cotton candy spun hair
and with squishing and squashing i formed into me,
eighteen
with sparkly chipped nails and flushed cheeks and endless tales
and i look at the tints of tomorrow in my roots and i think

there’s a whole lot of clouds to chase there