Age: 17, Grade: 11
School Name: Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, New York, NY
Educator: Sammie Smith
For Gidon And The Wall We Used To Share
I pray for divinity,
The skin beneath my thighs sticks to faux leather,
But I feel God between my fingertips and everywhere else where I am not.
I scratched the name no one gave me into the kitchen cupboard where you and I hid
In the house where we lost our milk teeth,
where I broke your thumb with a foam sword,
Left a scar on the space where your wrist thickens,
Where a bone sticks out and curves
Like the wood of our living room floor.
The man with the paper-bag wrinkles
Who stands behind the deli counter
Counts the nickels and dimes we pooled on your bedside table.
And sometimes your ginger ale and my Diet Cherry Coke
Come in a few pennies short,
But he’ll forgive us-
And if he doesn’t,
We’ll go home and eat sugar with teaspoons
Straight from the bag.
The house we live in now is too impermanent,
too permeable to the cold,
Uninsulated and invaded by winds,
But we will make new rules for ourselves
And find a home in them:
Shed your winter coat in the doorway,
But keep your shoes on,
We will climb up and down the stairs
Grazing the backs of our knuckles on imperfections painted over as if that would make them disappear.
The air is lucid now, coherent.
This house where storms knocked out the windows is merely a place where we leave our things
Before we find a new place,
A new bedroom door to crouch down in front of
and unscrew the lock,
new pharmacies around the corner
lit by foreign fluorescent bulbs,
With aisle numbers neither of us recognize.