Day 9: Things That Arouse Fond Memories of the Past

The smell of chlorine. The sound a leaf makes when you crunch it under your foot. Warm chocolate chip cookies with a cold glass of milk. The smell of a cigar. The Cartoon Network logo. The smell of gasoline on a hot day. The creaking of a floorboard in an old house. Walking barefoot in the grass. Reading old messages from a boy you used to like. Biting into a fresh cherry. The little sounds your house makes: the ticking of the clock, the humming of the fridge. A warm spring morning with everyone bustling to get to work.

Day 8: Don’t @ Me

I haven’t watched the news in 7 years.

I know, right?

Each time I say this, I’m told the same thing.

You have to watch the news, how do you know what’s happening?

Well, simple. A little birdie told me.

.

My dad watches the news everyday

He settles into his chair to relax,

and drink a beer as he watches

murders, thefts, and epidemics.

.

He can’t see how it affects him,

but each time I leave,

he warns me of all the bad things,

in this world.

.

I haven’t watched the news in 7 years.

When I leave my house,

I carry mace in my pocket, but what I notice is

the chirping of the birds overhead.

Emily Keeter

Day 7: Gift

If I could give myself a gift,

I would wrap it up in newspaper

the edges carefully tucked,

with the Sunday cartoons.

.

I wouldn’t open it slowly,

I’d tear the paper off, eager

to see what’s inside

I’d open the lid, and find,

under all the wrapping paper,

a small paper with delicate handwriting:

“Everything will be okay.”

Emily Keeter

Day 6: Mexico

Maybe next year

I’ll live in Mexico

I’ll wake up late, to the hot sun

and eat bright fruits I don’t konw the names of

.

I’ll walk the city with my Latin lover

he’ll buy me flowers and

drive me to the playa on his bike

he’ll say “eres hermosa, mi amor”

I’ll laugh off the compliment

.

Later we’ll go for tacos

bought on the street from the man with the mustache

who casually calls me guapa

his dark eyes crinkling with a smile

.

Maybe next year I’ll live in Mexico,

but for now,

I’m in France,

missing you.

Emily Keeter

Day 5: Run

I run in circles around the city

I pass familiar faces

.

I see old men smoking their cigars

young couples embracing

the Uber Eats bicycle delivery boys

the women with their dogs

other joggers

.

I stare back

into the eyes

of every man who watches me pass

Emily Keeter

Day 4: Four-Leaf Clovers

When I was little,

I remember sitting in the grass

with my mom, looking for

four-leaf clovers

.

It’s one of the few nice moments with her

that I remember very clearly.

She tried to do lots of things,

but alcohol always got in the way.

.

This Spring, I was in a park

with my best friend, in Barcelona

looking for four-leaf clovers

.

A stranger stole my backpack

and I never even saw their face

que raro, to feel that you’ve lost something dear

While searching for luck.

Emily Keeter

Day 3: 9 Months

September

Visa in hand, my Dad drops me at the airport

October

An end, in the midst of all the newness

November

Berlin, rain, and sadness. I lay in bed thinking of you.

December

The cold, unrelenting wind pushes against my windows

January

My brother arrives and a piece of me heals.

February

I slip back into old habits, but I think I can see the end of the tunnel.

March

Spring is finally here and I know I’ll make it

April

The rain has started but I’m stronger now. I think of another rainy day, when I invited you to a French play.

May

I will be going home, back to small town USA. My Dad will be there waiting for me at the airport.

Emily Keeter