lauryn is the best example of the reason
i like writing about people.
because i have waited too long
and now i have forgotten—
because now i do not even remember
if i spelled her name right.
lauren? laurin? lauryn?
here's the three things i remember
about the girl in the back of my spanish class
who showed up late for video rehearsals,
but pronounced español like she'd been speaking it all her life
lauryn is the only person i can
remember asking me to write a poem for her.
the rest of them just sat back and thought
that eventually i would write a poem about them
that they could steal and read.
she is the only one who has ever
wondered if i had better things to write about than her.
her sleeping bag during one of the school bonding trips
was bright yellow with a spongebob face on it.
i would know, i shared a tent with her—she woke me
up in the middle of the night because she thought
she heard something out in the woods,
and "please grace, won't you go with me?"
she carried two flashlights with her—one to light up
the monsters that hid in the dark
and the other to hit those monsters on the head.
i don't know why she wanted me there too, because
lauryn is brave without anyone
telling her she needs to be.
the spring of last year was full of grueling
track practice where the only person i knew on the team
made of sixth graders was lauryn.
we both ended up getting put in discus.
me, because i was not good at anything else,
and her because she knew i'd feel alone without anyone to talk to.
on graduation day, she threw me a smile
and i threw her a half-assed poem, and
i haven't seen her since.
dear lauryn, here's your poem, 221 days late.
the last one was awful, all about a girl
who was afraid to be amazing.
i know now that you will never have this problem.
so here's a better poem.
this one's about a girl i used to know,
who was funny and amazing and adjective-defying,
who never had to be afraid of being amazing
because she already was.