Fragmented Memories

A young girl strolled outside on frigid nights
with shorts, with messy hair, and with unstrapped sandals.
Her eyes poured liquid drops below the sidewalks
which created little streams on every block
that she passed by- feeling the chilly stings of the aggressive cold
that struck her: naked legs, naked cheeks, and naked hands.
On those nights, her teeth would chatter; she would inhale the air
and exhale condensation; her breath would be visible.

Walking on the streets of the Westside, the wanderer recalled strangers:
their cheers and perverted stares; the sirens of authority resonating a high pitch
sound- continuously, like an angry cry of anguish.
She recalled her dread, her soundless whimpers, and running forward into the night.
Her chest would pound heavily and her lung would be left breathless,
where you and those men could not trace her despair.

She returned to the apartment
at 12 AM.
Except, on those bitter nights:
when the breezy wind blew past her numbing legs,
when the stars guided her under gigantic trees,
when the THRILL of DANGER EMPOWERED her FLIGHT not fight-
A part of her withered!
But, unlike blooming daffodils that signified the commencement of Spring-
A part of her withered!
She withered like chrysanthemums
on those Autumn nights- withering within.

She once again embarked on her trek. Anger
and salty tears accompanied her rhythmic steps; words
such as unfair and justice and normal life
lost their meaning.

And yet, she was able to think of only one thing- school-
as it distracted her of her despair.
Every morning, when the sweet rays of light shined,
she attended school; it became her only escape.
However, like the light, the dark was always scheduled every night.
It became a dreadful routine: she was a student during the day
and a wanderer roaming at night.

At night, she opened her eyes and she felt the comfort
of the soft chair against her back. She was now a student
during the night and a worker during the day.
Words such as wanderer, cold, and fight gained meaning.
She pondered how much of that recollection
were memories
or dreams.

-- Hermelinda H., Adult