1. I am sixteen, suddenly.
I have grown up without anyone
telling me. My car keys rest heavily in
my palm. Each new college I hear about
rests heavily on my shoulders. I am
not sure how much longer I can take this,
all this extra weight of responsibilities, of choices,
of the future I’m not sure I want to have.
My skin feels stretched across my body
in places that don’t really make sense.
I still feel too big in every bad way—I’m
afraid I always will.
2. My first boyfriend tells me he
thinks I must have bits of the
universe inside of me. I try not
to get offended: I know he means to say
that kissing me is like kissing stars,
and that I hold the secrets of creation
inside my soul, but all I can think about
is how huge the universe is.
3. He breaks up with me at night.
For hours, I lean against my truck in
the driveway and look at the sky.
Stars are cold and distant,
I realize. The universe is big
4. Someone in my philosophy class tries to tell me
that I am tiny, that there’s seven billion
other people on the planet, that objectively,
no one would miss me if I were to disappear:
the hole I left would eventually be filled
by another faceless body.
I laugh, I think. This is the first time
in my life that someone has called me small.
5. I don’t want to be the universe,
or the stars, or the world. I
want to be myself, I want my skin
to fit right over my body, stretching
over lungs and muscles and veins.
and I want that to be enough.