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To Come of Age

By Jeanne Tokay

Girl, age 16.

Tethered by cups of praise

Glowing, holding her close from the inside as though her skin might burst as it fights to contain the stars piercing her eyes and ears

Choking her senses

Turning shades brighter

Laughs louder

Touches softer

The reds and blues humming with energy.

Yet it digests.


Until the glass hardly resembles what she had come to recognize as herself.

Her reds and blues fade.

Her soul so dull it takes vibrancy with it.

This shell is not made of stars - it is purely chemical.

She looms.


Void of purpose.

She starves

but her stomach is full.

The warmth lingers.

Just a taste.

So tempting and distant.

Her gut coils and writhes

The heat burns, her mouth dries

Her mind twists.

And at last, again, she sips.

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