pink and yellow are not traditionally
background colors. they scream
their presence when worn, so
i always wore them as a girl- i hoped
i could scream through them. the table
is full of dirty plates so maybe that explains why
this time, those bright colors only just capture
the corner of my gaze. it’s not until the paper
is almost crumpled in my hand that i see
the careful lines and circles. a drawing: a princess
and a castle, like the ones i used to do.
the artist and her young, hip parents were long gone;
they left me an okay tip. i take
the child’s drawing with the dirty napkins
and place it reverently in the garbage.
i leave, take an order, and then hurry
back. it’s still there, untouched by
tomato sauce. i take it out, fold it,
and stick it in my apron. during my shift
i find my fingers feeling the waxy
crayon. sometimes i take it out and look,
tracing the lines with my eyes. at the end of the night
i leave it at the restaurant. my next shift
it’s still in my locker, and i think of the little girl
that still lives in my stomach and i feel my heart
start to contort. i throw out the drawing;
tomato sauce be damned. not all things
are meant to be kept forever, but
some things need a little
more love before they are discarded.
THE DEAD SEA IS THE LOWEST PLACE ON EARTH
This place holds power.
It’s hard to believe, standing here
surrounded by tourists (including me)
and stands selling “Restorative Dead Sea Mud!”
but it’s true.
It makes sense, if you think about it,
that the lowest place on Earth would also
have the only surface you can float on;
contradictions are what keep us breathing.
I step into the water. I can feel the salt
tickling my ankles. As I go in further,
my skin starts to sting and remind me
of every recent red cut on my body.
I’m already floating, without realizing.
The sky above me is mirror-blue,
reflecting myself. Here, in this between
place, I think of how the truth
is really as thin as a strand of hair.
Poetry by Hannah Rousselot