She was passion


She was passion. With her paint-stained hands And her baggy flannels And her riddled scars And the stars that she drank Under the night sky in the middle of nowhere, Just where she liked To be

In a poem.

Turning feelings into words into poems into emotion, She was poetry. The kind of poetry that speaks Of the gentle curves of his jaw, Of the bare feet in sand, Of the wind past a car window, Of the fleeting bouts of laughter, Of the terrible loss in loneliness.

With her I was these poems. I was poetry with her, Scribbled scratches on a crinkled page That would be later thrown away. Whisked away. Hidden away. With her. I was a sonnet, Not the sad tune he played on Tuesdays In a bar with dead eyes.

She was a song. The music she played with her fingers, The cadence of her voice, The shy giggle she made after a compliment. But she did not hear, Did not see, That I heard music in her heart, Slipping between her teeth. I heard and I listened.

And she was strong. Oh, how strong she was. Not the strong you’re told you are After a breakup. After a divorce. She was the strong That stood on spikes without shoes That banged against

rocks and Dragged back out to sea That watched the movie a fifth time... And cried just as hard, the fifth time, That stood on ledges and looked down That read broken poems like a song. With a



And I listened.

White and Black


Are you the absence of color? Or all the colors combined? Because I have been both. I have felt how it feels To register everything— Or to register nothing.

Everything tastes like a blast of orange flavor Bursting over my tongue. Suddenly each blade of grass look sharper, Each ray of sun warmer...brighter. I can feel its touch on the tips of my fingers

As I reach out to the blue expanse above me, Letting my head fall back and my eyes flutter shut, Allowing myself to feel Everything.

Everything feels like joy coiled inside my chest Unable to express itself, Falling from my eyes in little, happy teardrops And collecting at the bottom of my chin. So real. I felt so...tangible.

It’s easy to lose everything. I lost my everything—in somebody. Colors tasted like dust And my mouth was perpetually gaping open Trying to find some kind of flavor, All the while filling my

lungs with mud.

Numb to the feeling of everything, I endeavored to find something That I could touch. That could touch me. Inspire me. Set me—in a blaze of fire.

The flames could lick away my old skin, Sear it black and peel it back To expose soft tissue, Unhardened by abuse And untouched by everything.




You make me feel Like a little girl Which is cliche But aren’t all Cliches true, They’re just hard

To hear when You’ve heard them So many times before. I feel lighter around you, And not like

You took an ignitor And set me aflame Like so many before you, I feel more like me Not

weighted down Around the ankles With memories Of my history. You put the butterflies Back

into my stomach After they were crushed And suffocated by Overly passionate lovers Who could not love lightly, Yet you have loved me So quietly and so gently I have let go of my weight, But I keep my butterflies caged, At least for now, Because you asked me To become My own butterfly

first Before they can fly to you.


Winter Is Coming


Winter hadn’t quite come, But I felt it in the leaves of the sleeping trees, And in the kisses of

frost in the early morning When orange light barely touched the horizon.

The soft hairs on the back of my neck sent shivers down to my toes, As a bitter, aching chill

sliced through my itchy, extra-large sweater, That smelled of firewood and home. Sunlight

warmed my bare wrists that were left exposed, A strange sensation of heat on wind-bitten skin,

Red like the color of chapped lips in dry cold.

Winter was coming, I knew this when the smell of fresh pumpkin enveloped me from the open oven, When soft glows in curtained windows Told of evening conversations around candlelit

tables, When an eerie quiet fell upon the streets lit by dull lampposts.

My hair was long and curled across my cheek, While I leaned over yellow pages on a plush

cushion in a window seat, Which looked out over dying yards That fathers had worked so hard to keep green all summer long.

Winter had come, With the snow falling from heavy clouds, A quiet vinyl track played in an

empty living room, And warm water filled a bath. The next snowy days were for hands curled around coffee mugs, Naps in fuzzy pajama pants, And nine p.m. chocolate chip cookies that

melted on my tongue.

The leaves were no longer visible, Branches bare and grass gone, Colors faded to gray like the threads of my old sweater, And the light of the fire, burned bright as we dreamt.


Trapped in a Forest of Trees


You are a manipulator: Snaking into my skin And melting into my bones, I have been unable To rid myself of the Sickly green tone.

You are the mossy vines Constricting my arms And covering my eyes; I claw and I tear And I aimlessly reach For something that’s not there

On the other side of the leaves That are jade black And crumbling between My bleeding

fingers— Please, Don’t tell me you miss me Through the thorns of the vines, Because I’ll strain to hear you And poke out my eyes.

Don’t sing songs About happily ever after While I lay in these forever green walls Desperately trying to gather,

Some part of you That sees me as a human being Rather than your sounding board That testifies your ability To control the hearts you seek In enveloping within these vines,

All lies. But hurting hearts cannot read The signs on the trees That scream “Warn-ing!” Their

eyes are on the lawn of green Just over the edge of that snowcapped peak, A garden promising

Of graciously nourishing A soul strained empty— Please.

Don’t beguile me With pretty jewelry And a pretty promise And then hang me from these trees.

For I have been wandering And wondering Where this precious token of affection Might be.


Mackenzie Brower

Mackenzie Brower is a journalism major which primarily derives from her passion for writing. Her goal as a writer is to inspire creativity in others. She began to seriously write poetry in her junior year of high school when she was also inspired by new members of her creative writing club. Mackenzie was involved with the club all four years, being the first to do so having joined the year it began. She greatly enjoys performing slam poems and she is currently working on compiling them into a book which she aims to publish. The Tunnels is her first official publication.
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