Directions to Nostalgia

You know that hill where your head leaked red?
It seemed so steep ten years ago but age shaved it down.
Turn left at the top, let yourself spiral down,
pass identical houses with
identical curling paint and
identical wind-bitten gutters. The pavement
will crack and splinter under your feet. Let it.
Your feet will unearth dirt from your childhood,
buried under papery grass and a copper sun.
At the cul-de-sac, choose the house most familiar.
Salted slugs nestle into the stucco and termites burrow
into the window panes. The windows bleed streams of
yolk-sun in between tears of rain and dust. The front door will be
locked – the lock birthed rust the last time the key danced
with the springs. You will feel longing poison your veins until
it snakes throughout your body. But the stairs welcome you.
Let their worn carpet sooth your sun-scorched feet.
Open the first door you see. There’s a bed you slept in
with a blanket riddled with holes. A shelf lined with books whispers
come closer. Choose the one with the strongest vertebrae, though
it may still crack when you open it. When you split the book,
turn the page and you will find me in the margins.
Don’t be afraid. We haven’t met in so long.

Sarah Street is a junior and Writing Fellow at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where she also writes for the school newspaper and edits the literary magazine. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Aerie International, DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, Just Poetry!!!, The America Library of Poetry, The Live Poets Society, and Teen Ink, among others. Sarah’s work has been recognized by the New York Times Student Poetry Contest, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest, and River of Words Poetry Project. She recently participated in the 2019 Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop.

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