A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY: NATALIE SERRAG
You can see her leaning over the rotten wood beams.
She is barefoot
Her lips sit in a frown the way that Storm clouds sit in the sky
You close your eyes just long enough to remember the time when You would touch her face tenderly
And wipe away frowns
She extends her hand to you. You will not take it.
Orange juice sits like an accusation between you two.
You recall the time she scolded you from the doorway You see her fingers wrap around the doorframe where Each year you grow an inch.
The caterpillars noticed.
Your cheeks get hot and your chest tightens Something like the way she screamed at you.
Or like how you rock in her rocking chair, wondering.
Listening to it creak with some quiet defiance.
Why is the sun still shining?
Why haven’t birds flown back into their beds? Back into their bomb shelters?
Worms wiggle lazy on the sidewalk.
You imagine them squished under her booted foot. You imagine them safely tucked in underground
You count the creaks you hear.
You hear her hesitation as she walks out the door. A storm brews in the exhaust pipe of the car As she starts the engine.
Something pulls in your heart when you see the dust settle in the driveway.
It has not stopped pulling.
Raindrops hit concrete Teardrops hit cheeks.
The world is dropping along with every organ in your body
and she was gone long before she left.
You know her,
And you know she would never Lose control.
Not of you.
Not of a steering wheel.
And you know her hands Were never colder than yours. You run outside
A tempest disguised as a gutted fish
You blame the rain
And when the rain washes away Her tire marks two months later, You have forgiven every force of nature
And every blade of grass.
You no longer need it to be anyone’s fault But your own.
2 years and
You sit in silence now, but
The floorboards and her rocking chair still creak,
you can only hear them when you Breathe quiet.
Breathe quiet Hear it? She forgives.
Sixteen year-old Natalie Serrag attends Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, Alabama. This poem was inspired by the death of her guardian angel, a woman who she never knew intimately. It’s an abstraction of what she imagines her relationship might have been like.