Turning Fifteen

I’ve told this story before.
Not the story of a generation of stowaways,
or the story of a hand reaching
from behind my seat on the train,
but a story meant to imbue something solid

into the many roads leading to myself.
The story my grandmother told three decades ago,
the story that spread like a water stain
into my mother’s mouth the week before I turned fifteen.
And aren’t I a woman too?

Listen to the brush wrestling through my hair,
my shirtdress rolling in the serrated breeze,
my lips parting like the red sea
around what is gone and what is left.
Everything dissolving to new movement,

weaving itself into a muscle between my heart and ribcage.
The man’s guttural voice as he rasps
Where are you going pretty lady?
The miracle of trembling legs
as I slowly rise from my seat.

Who, watching the tall autistic girl waver across the aisle,
does not look to her feet and see how she levitates?
Don’t I glide like a woman?
Isn’t my womanhood so big it overlaps itself,
all the stories I’ve ever told feathering back into each other?

Jenna Nesky is an autistic, Jewish, bisexual teen writer and poet. She is in tenth grade at Carver Center for Arts and Technology in the literary prime. From Maryland, she turns sixteen this year.

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