overcast day

I came to present a paper at a conference.

feeling foreign in my business clothes

formally dressed in this place where I was so casual

no bra bare nails no skirts long hair no heels my bare face

I had this event on my calendar for months.


is how I felt,

seeing the remnants of the skin I had just shed,

but still uncomfortable in my new face.

This was the first time I had come back since I left last December, and now I admit that it was because I was afraid.

everything so familiar, the quad, the clock tower, my professor, some of my classmates,

yet so different, with a new building sprouting and people not recognizing me and the most important people gone or changed.

nostalgia and nausea, and discombobulation.

I came with two friends from my new life and seeing them there made me feel even more out of place.

everything is different, but still looks the same.

omniscient tickling of my brain that tells me that I have been dreaming that I have been back here since before I left,

stumbling around the quad in my dreams, sleeping in JRC, talking to Kierra about everything, kissing under the street light,

and your hands cupping my face while I look into brown or blue or green eyes that only seem to blankly stare back at me in my


As I give my friends a tour, images flash back to me of memories that feel only weeks old but are actually from a year ago.

Talking to you under that tree, sitting on that marble bench, saying good bye to my Mom for the first time in that parking lot,

learning that my grandmother died in that parking lot, crying in my car and in that office and in that room.

I am very proud of the paper I gave, and I was commended by professors and peers by how I answered questions afterwards.

I couldn’t fully appreciate it because of the suffocation I was feeling from my new skin tightening around my neck.

It didn’t occur to me until now, 5 days later, that I was dumped twice in that same building, just one floor up.

Doing homework with him on the couch outside of the chaplain’s office, doing homework in the booths, crying in that

bathroom. Giving Danny the riot act, telling Evan that he could trust me, doing homework in those booths,

writing the paper I presented on Friday, you meeting me there, my phone not working,

you not even unpacking your bag,

you telling me that we need to talk, you telling me that we were too different,

you telling me that it wasn’t my fault,

you telling me that I was too liberal,

you telling me that you didn’t mean to hurt me, you crying too.

you getting angry when my anxiety escalates, you putting your head in your hands,

you not responding when I say that it isn’t fair, you apologizing.

you saying goodbye.

me feeling my stomach sink like a rock, me in total shock,

me unable to convince you that we were the same,

me seeing that you had already changed.

me feeling defensive, me feeling violated,

me starting to cry big fat tears, me turning red, me my nose starting to run.

me feeling exposed, me telling you off for doing this in a public space,

me texting Kierra to ask her to stay awake until I came home and that it was over,

me crying some more, sobbing into my sweater to muffle the noise.

me still having to tell you that it’s okay, me holding your hand.

me wiping my face off in the bathroom, me staring at my face morphed by tears in the mirror.

me barely holding it together. me asking to walk home alone.

me walking past all of our street lamps, me hiding in darkness so no one would see my face or hear my tears.

me crying myself to sleep that night, me waking up.

me getting into the business school the next day, me feeling genuine pride and joy, me being congratulated by my classmates.

me writing my paper, me doing my homework, me studying for finals, me acing my classes, me dancing with Kierra at formal,

me seeing the students I tutored succeed, me taking charge of my peers at work, me being given responsibility,

me loving my work, me looking toward the future, me packing up my stuff and putting it into storage, me leaving Oxford behind.

me coming to business school, me joining a sorority, me struggling in my classes, me loving my friends,

me making impulsive decisions, me being reminded of you with him, me calling my family every day, me turning 20.

me doing my best, me being proud of what I do, me having genuine friends both new and old,

me being more me than ever before.

I know what I was afraid of now.

I was afraid of remembering this and so much more pain that comes with growth and adulthood.

I was afraid of coming and finding that everyone had forgotten me and it was as if I was never there.

I was afraid to remember that this place was once my home.

of age/ twenty/ two years.

of age/ twenty/ two years.

I turned twenty recently,

in the past,

I would be “of age.”

No debutante, am I.

I don’t feel more adult than I did

a week ago,

but looking back, I know I am.

two years ago

this blog began as

a place to

vent my spleen,

show my poor, lacerated teenage heart

to an anonymous and unknown audience.

Unbeknownst to you readers, I am more adult now.

Two years ago,

or even a year ago,

I would agonize over text messages to boys who ultimately did not matter,

composing them scores of love and affection that could never be reasonably returned.

Now I agonize over emails to recruiters,

and currently I am more anxious about

gaining a job this summer and a lease for next fall

than my nonexistent lovers.

I loved the balloons,

they were perfect when I chose them at 17, when I turned 18, and still good

when flew into 19.


Brick wall, mountain to climb.

Window to jump through,

doors to lock.

Chances to take,

friends to make.

People to meet,

hands to shake,

hands to hold.

Felt abject terror,

love, grief, and compassion

after I turned 19.

Good bye 19.

I turned 20 recently.

Thank you for reading Poems by her.

Today is the two-year anniversary of its birth,

and I want to say thank you, whether you are a first time reader

or have followed me through the rollercoaster of absences and depression and pure joy and poems.

Thank you!

new friends

new friends

new friends,



so much more content.

hugs constant,

lunch dates every day until spring break.

the length of our smiles added all together is infinite and immeasurable.

for the first time I know what sisterhood really means.

unlocked is the unicorn inside of me,

as cliche as it might seem.

These women are pearls and already I wear them with pride.


profound moments

profound moments

I am sitting,

you are standing to the right of me.

The book is open:

“A yit kadash a yit kadar a yit amen…”

She is standing now too.

to my left.

I am in the center,

still chanting.

She stretches her arms,

riddled with veins and arthritis.

They hold each other, still chanting.

I am sitting in the middle,

I chant too.

They are shaking,

but this,

this is what true friendship is.

summers long ago I

summers long ago I

sitting under the joshua tree oh so quietly

singing disney songs and just having fun

and not worrying about beingsmart enough,

or cool enough.

many summers here,

and i’m still in love with you.

sunsets, services, tossing rocks.

hugs with jessie, advice from lara,

love from all.

thanks for it all.

For lily

For lily

his pain

his pain

i still don’t understand.

flowers on anniversaries, sweet kisses on her forehead,

to end like this?


i loved her,

he said.

holding hands at the movies, recording a song for her as a voice mail.

i waited for her,

he said.

i know.

i know.

I remember how she would listen to those songs on the bus,

how she would smile so wide at those flowers,

how nervous she was for the first date.

it’s so hard,

he said,

to hate someone you used to love

so much.

I know,

i know.

smiling to the camera, doing her makeup for a dance.

walking my dog together, every day.

drinking orange juice and eating peta chips after school.

We grew apart like two trees-

close together as saplings,

but leaning away from each other slowly.

She was my bestfriend.

she told me that she gave me time to fix it,

he said,

and that i missed my chance.

Giddy and giggling, that’s how I remember how she was when he asked her out

all those years ago.

Blushing when I teased her about him,

frowning nervously before her first date.

No, we are not the same at all.

she told me that she’d changed,

and that she doesn’t think she loves me anymore,

he said.

We had leaned away slowly.

We coupled off, she with him, and then, me with mine,

but it wasn’t just that.

It wasn’t good enough to try anymore, for her.

She made new friends,

and so did I.

But she stopped saying yes to sleeping over,

stopped staying after school.

No more walking Sadie on a nice afternoon.

she stopped answering my calls and messages,

he said.

Cuddling on the floor of my room in a sleeping bag, whispering into the night.

she went out with him alone,

and didn’t even mention it to me,

he said.

Watching youtube videos on our laptops, sitting out in the sun.

she said that it wasn’t cheating,

that it didn’t count,

he said.

Frowning disapprovingly at my boyfriend, standing me up.

but she moved on before she was even done with me,

he said.

You and I know that that’s infidelity,

I said.

yes, I do, he said.

Forgetting to visit me after surgery, not saying hi to me in the hall.

i blamed myself all the same,

he said.

Not asking for my opinion on your prom dress, calling my passion for makeup silly.

but she’s changed so much since we broke up,

he said.

How you leaned on my shoulder when we were with our other old friends,

How we talked and laughed,

as if we did this all the time.

And how I didn’t try to correct them.

You implied that you and him were done,

and noticed you texting the new guy the entire time.

But I assumed that you had already done it.

I would have never imagined what you have done.

she manipulated me into waiting for her,

he said,

and she put a veil over my eyes,

so i wouldn’t see how much time she spent with him instead of me,

he said.

Yelling at me when I disagree with you, not making eye contact with me for weeks.

Seeing you and him together, hand and hand, on accident.

Ignoring my pain to avoid your own guilt.

i thought she was beautiful, kind and gentle,

he said,

but just suffering from stress.

she called me petty when we got into an argument, after we ended,

he said.

she told me to not tell anyone lies,

(the lie being that she cheated)

he said.

i have been tricked and betrayed by this girl i loved,

and i can’t even fight her now because i don’t want to hurt her.

We leaned away slowly,

but now we have split

down the center.

oh lily,

I have nothing left to say.