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(thank you/goodbye)

Experimental Poetry, Micaela Francis

Directions: Choose one

When I was twelve my soul was (scarred/unblemished/elastic.) Grandpa gone. Grandma shortly after. Before they were my grandparents - before they were even parents they were just Derek and Pansy. Nineteen and in a new country. They stumbled into each other at a house party in the sixties. Reggae hadn’t even fully solidified into a genre yet. They met in Lewisham. A borough in South London consisting of a community of (colonized/diverse/hard-working) peoples: Caribbean, Indian, African - Britain smeared its sticky fingers all over the globe. I wish I knew them back then.

This wound has (ripped open/ran red/scabbed over) so many times. I never knew pain like that could exist. Viscous, bloody fingertips. I keep picking at it. What is the point of loving if we all fade in the end? My older brother has the same laceration. Sometimes I see the weight on his shoulders. His back hunched over. Spine protruding. Bulging veins like vines wrapped around his arm. I’m scared of losing him one day. Sometimes I dig my fingers in too deep. Please God don’t take him too.

The two of us spent every summer in St. Andrew with Grandpa and Grandma. I pretended they were my parents and we had the perfect little family. Chickens clucking were our alarm clocks. They swarmed the front yard; Grandpa swatted them away. If only I could make time (start/stop/reverse). Time didn’t (exist/matter/move) back then. Every summer felt like a year. We’d sob at the airport when it was time to go. No more hikes in the morning. Back to flat Florida.

Last winter we reminisced until we (cried/smiled/broke.) Remembering their gentle presence. The smell of Grandma’s favorite sweater. Grandpa’s sandy strappy sandals. The faint tv in the background, the rumpling newspaper. Afternoons at the YMCA, beach days burying each other in the sand. Learning how to drink out of coconuts and missing mom and her calls. The memories kept us (warm/sane/alive). I try not to (indulge/coddle/envy) my younger self. I just still do not know how to say (thank you/goodbye).


Micaela Francis is a full-time daydreamer and intuitive writer. She is a rising senior at Sarah Lawrence College and is currently studying Literature and Writing. Lately, she has been exploring themes of Black feminism and intersectionality, family history, and ultimately trying to make sense of where she fits in the world. Find her on Instagram at @micaela.___


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