Across from my apartment, a woman on her balcony
who lathers her skin with scented lotion
so she can pinch together her stretch marks,
so no one can see what she’s made of.
She scrubs, cracking painted fingernails,
turns her hands into each other, then
gives two extra strokes to her ring finger.
She leans against a barbecue grill, clasping her Aveeno
as a teenager holds a bottle of tequila,
and searches through the line of cars, perfunctory.
She bends down to her toes to continue the ritual.
It’s funny, I used to think
that sad people were the most dangerous.
Nikita Bastin is a 16-year-old poet from San Francisco, currently attending Saint Francis High School. She has attended the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, has been mentored by The Adroit Journal and has received distinction in the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She reads for Polyphony H.S. You can find her at https://nikitabastin.com.