Flowers in this garden, poetry on this page


Natalie Mix

The bouquet of flowers my friend bought from a farmers’ market this summer

There’s a small yellow unicorn sitting on her windowsill, half of what she assumes was once a greeting card taped to her wall, a poetry book at her feet, and strings of multicolored lights hanging around the room weeks after Christmas. 

With honey chapstick on her lips and a night of words bound to haunt her tomorrow, she is at peace. 

Hours ago, her friends drove her home as she watched the softened edges of traffic and city lights through the foggy backseat window, smiling at the faint residue of words once scrawled through the hazy condensation. Conversation lilted through the small space, and she felt her heart open itself to something else, not the exhilaration and euphoria that dissipate quickly, but peace—peace at being truly known, peace that she wonders might last. 

If this year is a story, she’s in the middle, and she’s often found that there’s something comforting about the middle of a story, the space in between the pages. They flutter gently past her fingertips as she loses herself in a warm summer rain. 

There is beauty here, in the middle of the story. There are flowers in this garden, poetry on this page. 

New poetry will replace these lines once the pages have yellowed with age…

Her hair is longer than it’s been since her sophomore year when she first discovered the magic of a pair of craft scissors and late-night bad decisions. Now, she’s long since abandoned those scissors, her hair is finally growing out again, and she can twist it into a messy bun with forgotten ease. When she takes it down at the end of the day, removing bobby pins in front of the mirror, she can finally smile at her reflection. 

She’s thinking about Valentine’s Day, about bake sales, about kitschy, pink gifts overflowing from grocery store aisles, about love, about the day after, when she turns eighteen. She’s thinking about the two weeks when she and her best friend will be seventeen together, can blast “Dancing Queen” in the car, scream “young and sweet, only seventeen” and have it be true for both of them.

She’s been dreaming about tattoos and adulthood, trading designs back and forth, wondering what she wants her body to bear evidence of forever. She wants to make impulsive, stupid decisions, let her body tell a story of times when she stopped thinking and just did something.

The homework she’s procrastinating on is poetry analysis, and she can’t be mad at it, can’t be mad that she’s relegated it to regretful hours of the night because poetry is meant for moments like this. On these late nights, her cat is never far from her, nuzzling against her cheek or resting his head on her arm.

She’s buying dresses for brunch and thinking about spring picnics and collaborating on Pinterest boards for her future. She’s saved photos in her camera roll of the orange and blue shoes she hopes to DIY and the canvas tote bags she wants to paint with her friends. She can’t wait for weekend city trips, farmers’ markets, late summer nights, a week in a vacation house somewhere. 

If this is the middle of her story, she thinks she wants it to last a little longer. She’s been counting up the imperfections as she counts down the days to milestone dates, but maybe January, with all its chipped edges and thin fracture lines, is becoming her friend.

This is January, but January quickly becomes February, and this will all end too soon, the pages will flutter to a gentle close. New poetry will replace these lines once the pages have yellowed with age, and she’s sure it will be just as beautiful as this, but for now, she’s here, in the middle.

And she’s found peace in the middle of this story.