Four years ago, you looked me in the eye and said
you were proud I had done it. You were proud of the
shawl I wore and the words that drifted on specks
of preschool dust and cremated thirteen-year-old
girls. You were proud of the history and the
tradition and the verse and the characters each one
Memorized from recorded intonations used by
a long long line of others in our
little bay and beyond. You said you were
Proud of who I was becoming.
Yet now your eyes boil with resentment.
I can be anything I want but not that.
So where do you draw the line
between what you hate and what
you worship. Countless others have
already argued so maybe think about why I did it
and why I spoke her name—
Tradition that’s how We stay afloat,
so do not tell me that you hate It. You are one of
us and you cannot hide from the already spilled blood.
You love yourself too much for that.
Maybe You find no meaning, no memory, no merit
in our petty songs, but You can fly and others cannot,
so tell me which part do You actually hate?
The wine-dipped fates’ thread that
refuses to be snipped; sprinkled with the
bread-crumb bones of our ancestors;
limb upon limb piled high with determination
and refusal to lay down and sleep soundly and quietly
Or the realization that not-knowing scares the
dying fuck out of You, and a sewn star cannot save you
from the icy grip of unsurety and ever-twisting
tree branches of arguments You cannot win.
Abby Pasternak is a theater and tea lover from California who enjoys knitting, doodling, writing, and John Mulaney specials. She is currently an editor of her school's literary magazine and is a co-lead of the school poetry club. Along with her interest in poetry, she writes short stories and is working on a novel. As a senior, she fears for the upcoming responsibilities of college life but is excited for all of the opportunities it will bring.