The Afternoon I’d Not Understand For a Decade

By Jennifer Kelley

Standing outside Monticello 
the abode of my favorite genius, 
The darkness grabbed me 
by the ankles and tugged me under, 

It was the 8th grade trip to the East Coast 
my first time traveling without my parents. 
Instead, packed into the bus 
with my long-lost best friend 
and a handsome boy who would easily 
argue the other side of anything, 
you's think that I'd be in heaven – 

It came then, the Blackness 
though I did not yet know it's name 
and instead thought it to be my own heart's desire. 
Dragged me into the toilet, where, 
wretchingly, I tried to qualify 
to say on the bus. 

This longed-for dream further deferred 
as though having it would have 
ended something 
precious – 
decapitated a dream. 

I coughed and gagged but could provoke nothing – 
then told the chaperons that I'd thrown 
up and had to stay behind. 

But another girl convicted my fraud, 
proclaiming me un-vomited 
to the point that no one would let me remain 

Again the separate feeling rebelled and rolled in my belly 
and I longed for 
that cool, solitary porcelain – 

while I stepped inside the inventions of dreams 
compelled by the crowd, 
even if I was not one of them.

This piece is from The Feminist Toilet #1. To go back and read more, click here.

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