Hello spring, I write poetry now


Natalie Mix

I painted my leg for real, the metaphor stands nonetheless.

A mile and a half on roller skates, my palms and knuckles battered, and I’m sore for days after from hitting the ground too many times. But there were people at the park, and encouragement fell from the lips of everyone who passed. 

There were people at the park because it was warm enough for me to take off my red hoodie from Marshall’s. There were people at the park because the sun sets later every night. 

Every spring I learn again how to be alive again; this year, I cling to her lessons more than ever. The way a warm and sunny day means more intertwined within a week of cold and rainy ones, this happiness shines brighter when I remember these past few months—the winter I thought would never end. 

And now there is peace, peace in not having to lift the heavy blankets of snow off my car every morning, peace in not having to fumble under the heavy blankets that weigh on me. 

And the purest happiness, that comes from sating the ache in my soul that’s been there beyond the scope of my limited memory.

But I look out my windshield, and I see the cracked roads, the slush pushed against the sidewalks, the washed-out grass. My windows are down, and the wind’s harsh breaths are whipping around the trash that’s accumulated in my car, and 28th street is a fragile echo. 

As the snow has melted and allowed the earth to breathe, her scars are on display for all the world to see. No longer burdened by constricting arms that multiply every day, she stands to be judged—cracked and ravaged roads, fields of spongy grass in desaturated hues, skies painted bleakly because the sun has abandoned us, dissipated from the cracks and allowed us to break.

I am like her, like the earth meeting her brokenness in the spring. March has lovingly washed away the paints I have sloppily streaked to hide the bruises that winter pounded into me. 

I know that when acrylic paint crackles off my skin, its residue is chipped and erratic. While others painted their canvases, I was too scared to desecrate mine, so my skin bore the brunt of a once vivid gradient. Now, while everybody else’s canvases maintain their beauty, all that remains of my art is depleted and reddened skin.  

Now March is tending to my wounds; her warm breezes smell of freshly fallen rain, and the earth they gently dampen. She has taken my secrets from my shoulders and released them to the wind.

When people ask me how I am, I don’t say I’m fine anymore. I am like the earth, openly broken and wading through melted snow, stumbling towards summer in the open palms of the horizon. 

Summer is jubilance and adventure; summer is the water I can’t swim in and the absence of fear that propels me forward. And I’ll grasp the hand I’ve held for years, show the little girl who we’ve become. That we write poetry now.

But spring is peace and light. She is the birds at the feeder outside the glass double doors. She is the words that tumble from the tip of my pen as every entry brings me closer to filling the weathered magenta journal. The empty journals pile up on my antique writer’s desk, waiting for that one—the one that’s held my thoughts since the summer before freshman year—to reach the end of her time. 

And this is the last spring of my childhood. Next spring will find me hopefully less broken, eighteen years old, and I’ll let her leave her mark on my skin, so I will be indelibly less tempted to paint over the cracks when the sun leaves me again. 

So I lace up my roller skates. I stumble down the path, falling, finding my footing, falling again. I watch the sunrise through the windows at the top of the stairs on my way to Geology. I pull up to Jessie’s house every morning, and the Barden Bellas serenade us as we cut through the neighborhood to school. I sit in room 139/140, for two hours a day, like I always wanted to do, recognizing that it comes at a cost. I fall in love with The Great Gatsby all over again. 

And this is to you, if you’re reading this. I wasn’t okay. I’m still not okay. But spring came.

Like she always does.

Like she always will.