Poetry by Grace Tran
the grass is burnt yellow, left to dry in the august heat crunching under the soles of black sneakers and pink flip flops; it feels bristly, like a man’s unshaven chin and bends swiftly with the gentle breezes, sharp tips poking at ankles like nature’s sun-baked swords. we were reckless with our time in those days when the sun lingered in the sky beating down on our faces- eyes closed, smiling, stealing kisses behind the barn with peeling paint the classiest of joints for sure, the perpetual taste of smoke reaching down our throats as we crushed the cigarettes with our bare toes and watched the embers glow and fade laughs dripping off our lips like melting popsicles; we didn’t think- didn’t need to think. were we innocent, thinking that love meant sharing bite-sized m&m’s and that family never left, thinking that summer evenings were made for late night movies and ice cream under the dusky sunset, the kindergarten-crayon-sky, for reading the graffiti on the streets, sharp-edged lettering that made us wonder who we were? seventeen steps this way to the duck pond, nine that way to the hot dog vendor (he doesn’t speak english, doesn’t understand that you don’t want sauerkraut but he does make one mean bratwurst). any step will take you somewhere but an arrival does not mean destination: will you wander forever? twenty-eight steps to the right: i find tiger lilies under the flagpole orange petals spotted with dark, round speckles ready to be plucked by a beautifully chubby five year old in pigtails with dozens of freckles to match and i wonder- could our lives ever be as vivid as a flower’s?
Grace Tran has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and was a 2017/2018 national and “Best of Issue” winner of the American High School Poets “Just Poetry” quarterly contest. She has been both a runner-up and fiction grand prize winner of the Scholastic Kids are Authors contest. She has also had works appear and forthcoming in The Pangolin Review and Polyphony H.S.