2015-2016, Poem


Featured in the 2016 Spring Issue of Rambunctious

Melissa Gao, '17


the way every step was unintentionally gentle, 
as if the world was the most priceless porcelain 
and she an awkward giant traveling across it 
the way she floated languidly to each new 
destination, but with the purpose of the most 
determined leaf, holding on until early winter 
the way an unassuming smile always hovered at 
the corner of her lips, and could soothe even 
an earthquake into forgetting its course 
the way two hazel eyes embraced all 
with just one glance, even before
a first word was said
the way two innocent, delicate arches
lifted her entire face when she first 
noticed me


the way everything slid into place 
when our eyes met after the 
initial, inevitable dance
the way her light words bounced around in my heart
and warmed the black barriers into melting
the way her eyelashes stroked her cheeks
a flurry of fast flitting on that first night
the way she shyly, slyly
slid her sun-filled hand into mine
the way four rosy ribbons clumsily collided
together, feeling exploding, for the first time 
the way her shoulders reached for mine 
and they answered, leaning and learning

the way there was no hesitation at the introduction
of something tinged pink and wafted of uncertainty and enthusiasm,
especially when she gave me three letters instead of two
the way slender fingers carefully tucked pieces
of perpetually uncooperative locks behind my ear
the way her hands waved to every friendly speck
of dust as words twirled out of her mouth toward me 
the way playing unbreakable notes were her selfless gift 
to me after a stormy day
the way she always was the one to clean up the mess left by
a muddy, unhappy pile of words lingering between us 
the way her spontaneous surprises never failed to 
raise the sun again, despite the start of its descent

the way she joyfully changed "my" to 
"our" when she thought
about home
the way my soul sighed when her belongings 
finally mingled happily with mine
the way her hair stretched out across my chest 
after a heart-pounding, heart-revealing night 
the way we yearned for each other's company 
like dandelions stretching towards the golden sun 
the way companionable silence filled the room
as words lost meaning in the face of familiar intimacy 
the way our hearts slowly decided to beat 
together, forever


I remember the way her eyes filtered in 
only warmth and light
I remember the way sharp objects were
incapable of forming in her mouth
I remember the way her nose twitched at
everything funny, including my bad jokes
I remember the way she collected dirty, rusty rounds off grounds
just to give a dirty, rusty peer a handful of chance and hope
I remember the way she gave out "sorry" so easily and
truly, even as others failed to give it back
I remember the way her plans and mine
met, dated, married and had
babies planned for the future
I remember the way her shining clock was shattered 
unapologetically by fate, without any notice
I remember the way she gracefully lay across the center of that
average gray road, bleeding out unfulfilled desires
I remember the way my hurried footsteps getting closer, closer
couldn't stop her from slipping out of my hands
I remembered the way her still fingers turned snow-white, bare
without the promise I had waiting at home