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Levitsky, Phoebe, Fake Flowers


Phoebe Levitsky
Age: 15, Grade: 10

School Name: Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY
Educator: Marty Skoble

Category: Poetry

Fake Flowers


She walks the line
She – the one who shimmers at the edge of my mind
She dances, in the shadows, metaphorically speaking
Metaphorically speaking a line is not a line but a placeholder, a gradient along a color spectrum where something is deemed black or white
Metaphorically speaking, we (she and me,) we live in a world where grey does not exist

She is not black or white she
She is the thick in the back of my throat, thickets of weeds on those summer afternoon like –
Like seeds sprouting between my fingernails she
She is the color of sunlight, or metaphorically speaking the opacity of –
The color at the edge of time I bathe in it and i count it –
Count her, my blessings, count the seconds at the edge of my mind
She is the color that runs through my veins and arteries

She is fluid like (but more versatile then) time, those endless afternoons in the garden she is frayed at the edges like
Like twine, dragged manually around every loose corner i use her to keep track of myself
Within myself, somewhere five layers deep I am overly absorbed in my personal life
But she, the one that planted sweet basil behind my eyes and unraveled myself from myself –
She, the one that extracted me from myself, bloody at times with a rusty pair of tweezers 

She is the one with an unresolved ending,
Left sticky notes on my desktop screen told me
If I never buy a watering can I will never water the flowers if I never water the flowers if I –
She, the one that is grainy at the edges not me, sharp relief in sepia she still trails endless paths through the unwatered garden.


It’s been a while since you’ve been back to The Ocean – a double capital and an entity within itself

(You are fourteen, stretched in the sun damp candy floss type sticky, reduced to the center of your salt soaked being)

The air tastes bitter and pulpy – like salt, it leaves a filmy residue at the back of your throat in a  you can never quite get clean in nature and you know it type of way

(You are cleaner than you ever have been and ever will be – elastic young skin rubbed raw to the veins and arteries you cut your foot on a piece of sea glass and salt water splashes onto the sand that’s how clean you are)

Cloudy days make the world look badly painted on cheap balsa wood – the ninety cent per sheet  hardware store type of raw material – you run your hand along the edge of reality and it splinters easily between your fingers

(Time is soft and pliable to you – you, clay that is not yet hardened you slip easily through the holes between seconds the same way you are trapped in perpetual motion avoiding the same holes in your own self identity)

You are one step removed, obviously, from reality – you take a step forwards and like a half baked mirage – a rainbow – clarity shimmers just out of reach

(The sun laps against your ankles in waves, threatening to pull you under – watch out for the riptide you were warned – ha, like you could stumble golden suntanned long limbed body you are invincible and you know it)

Your body is not old but worse for the wear and tear – your superego falls by the wayside to make room for minor repairs – aches and pains, you are no longer immortal but that makes you one with the earth


and you, Lolita,
you self deprived darling,
dragging your toes across the edge of reality
you are quaking, again, dead leaves in a dead breeze, again,
you are naught but a breeze
scattering ribs across empty highways

how does it feel, Lolita, going eighty miles per hour along a highway?
to pull out your ribs, one at a time,
bloody at times,
to paint yourself,
name yourself, Lolita
Lolita, darling, you speed too fast too fast you –
just know, you did this to yourself

your skin is elastic and you know it and you –
you, short dressed, short changed, cheaply dressed by someone else,
you reach in (single handedly because you stand on your own two feet you halter topped haltering breaths you stand on no one else’s)

pull out your lungs, next,
save the best for last you say,
and you have been searching for them 
haven’t you baby?
down dark alleys and crumpled sheets

because you lost the words you hid in your wrinkles


What have i become,
I’m sorry
I have been simmered in the heat and reduced, and
Reduced to the point of unrecognizableness
And my bones have become withered down to the whorls and vortexes the
The arch of my back is all that remains, exaggerated and reduced, down to the center of my sun soaked being

What have i become, for
I can’t really apologize enough for
The nebulous regions between my legs, under my arms that
Hotbed of life sending vines, snaking and flowering around loose limbs barely held together at the seams with copious fertilizer
It all comes from there, you can see it, the starved parts of my body that i am too scared to touch
Stewing blistering berries on my elbows and knees

I lie for endless hours in the grass until
Until i grow, until the sun feeds me i have never been at the mercy of photosynthesis before
It’s a refreshing change to not have to take care of my own body