2023 – Harper Elder – HWRA – Hillcrest HS

Jan 20, 2023

There is a small book that I keep under my pillow. It is a black book, with a bee on its cover. Next to the book, I use to keep a pen and a small light. When I knew my secrets would be protected by the darkness of the night, I reached under my pillow and wrote. One night, I packed that book, and some of my favorite clothes, into a suitcase. I left my pen and flashlight.
I left through the front door. I didn’t need to sneak out of my house. I was being forced out.

Several weeks later, and after much fear of sidewalk sleeping-bags, I moved in with my sister. I slept on her couch in her small apartment. My school, which I was completely unwilling to leave, was an hour’s bike ride. It was the middle of winter, and I didn’t own a coat. As I rode, I looked at the mountains. The same snow making me miserable, was making the mountains beautiful.

Everyday for two months, I suffered frostbitten knuckles to get to school. I was too preoccupied with hunger to focus at school. But I kept trying. I did not skip school, and regardless of the weather, I always rode my bike. Thankfully, I eventually got a bus pass. That made the journey from my sister’s apartment much easier. Unfortunately, she kicked me out two weeks later.
I didn’t lose my hope. I packed my suitcase again and grabbed my book. I continued to write in that little black book that I stole away with. That book is filled with the faces of awful acts. But it is also filled with the beauty of the mountains.

During this time, I contemplated suicide. I begin to ask why I was living. If my parents didn’t love me, could anyone? But I found something to love: art. When I write, I see the world in technicolor. I see the peace inside of the grass and the hope inside of my heart. When I dance, I can feel the burdens of my parents leave my body. My body stopped becoming a place to hit, and elevated into a piece of art. I still have my little black book – here’s a poem I wrote in it.

Pink thistle ain’t a ring,
Swift fingers numb her sting.
I’ve learned to pluck and boil.

Pink threads spun in sun,
Through thorns, legs torn, I run
To knit a knotted blanket.

It is a trap, time’s trick.
Your caution leaves love slick –
regret sticks in her place.

I never was forsworn,
but palms with blood adorn,
I’ll reach out my left hand.

All I ask you is to create something.

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