It’s the time of revisions like self-confidence from the open
slip n’ slide across my teeth, freed from those gates. Losing the little bumps
scattered like a graveyard of self-esteem on the chin that Momma says
don’t pick and it’s gonna leave a mark. Revisions like the two mounds
that get all the stares. I mean really all the stares.
Self-restraint, like that time Billy says just one pull but I say No.
Learning how to use tongue, when not to bite, and cherry-red
lipstick is for dick tricks, so I’ll avoid it while I’m young. Periods
are the best way out of Biology and going to his house.
It’s the time I wear mini-skirts without underwear just to feel a breeze,
dance to Britney, Christina, Ciara right before Destiny, oh child.
It’s the years people write songs about, film rom-com over-budgeted
movies about, with that drrreeeaammyyy Ledger on the stadium stands.
The years they say I’ll never forget. I mean how can I forget?
It’s the years when I buried my best friend’s body. Only it’s not her whole body,
pieces missing after she flew out the wind shield, pieces I gave
her, pieces of me. Dismemberment, the medics whisper, but I can’t hear
from the scream escaping my frame from a place I never knew existed.
It’s the years I thought would be easy not like that test I took in order to leave this
final frontier where all I see are mistakes. It’s a time of discovery, make posters about it,
talk to your Counselor about it, find out who you are then tell the world all about it.
Years that you’ll one day wish you had again.
Mary Elizabeth Cartwright is a fiction writer who dabbles in all things southern and twisted. Her favorite fiction is that of William Faulkner, Jesmyn Ward, and Carson McCullers. She is a graduate candidate of the MFA program at the University of Memphis, her alma mater. Mary is the current Managing Editor of The Pinch, the University of Memphis’s literary journal, as well as an instructor of the English Department. She aids undergraduate students at the university with writing at the Communication and Writing Center in her free time and her nightlife includes working at a pharmacy where she gets the majority of her writing material.