High school feels overgrown and unsteady. A doggy pants in the car window,

and so many things are on their way to me.                                                         I put my hair up and

expect a halo. I’m here now, and for what it’s worth when I open the window I feel like I fit

within. I see numbers growing brightly, a catch in my breath as I spy a little lucky patch of

clovers.                                      Spotted and friendly.

              Nothing is a waste! I’m cooking rice and juggling so much within the palms of my head.

A plush membrane unfolds like the tongue of a pearls within. Do you go to school? Normal

right, like a normal person? Do you know where you’re going? Do you think yourself deserving

or did you fit yourself inside their pocket lining, soft and sighing in a tone only sweethearts hear.

              This guy sits at the head of the table and has the nerve to tell me that he misses his little

home made in mud. In a way that feels like:

                                         I miss it when the women wore their red little checkered aprons and would

                                         lay down their life on the nearby bus stop for his skin. You miss when

                                         they would wiggle and blush, as you threw a window at an old car. Beer

                                         collects in pools of sweat, a smashed bottle and pleading. She knows this

                                         because she’s heard this before. Not all papa’s are like sweat and stingy

                                         breath filled of onion and tomato, but sometimes the world feels too small

                                         and when you break a mirror for a glass shard it feels like you can do

                                         anything.          Now, in case anyone gets too close, I shape my eyes like

                                         daggers and turn my head quick.

I check all around me, and sometimes the shuffling footsteps soft—

              of my shadow on bare winter flora frightens me. Usually I’m the one

              who strays, and if anything, I’d at least like to get too close to the sun.

              You point your fingers to the sun, quick, before it sets!


Cleo-Valentin (they/them) is a makeshift kind of artist: picking up words pieces of string, trash, glitter and memories to put together in order to form a messy sort of confessional communion; they are nineteen and live in the secret corner of the world in California’s grassy ol’ valley from where they derive much hope.

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN