Charcoal ID
Heather, Age 16, Benson, NC

Strum my vocal cords like your nylon,
your steel.
Then I'll see if I can say it.
My window is making the world a cartoon.
But I'm starting to need synthetic rubber
for my graphite world.
So gray, so tasteless, so bland, so insipid, so foggy.
I'll hand you a guarantee
that my interneurons hate each other.
Their daily synaptic battles completely annihilate.
The most mechanical thing to me -
the only thing to operate immaculately to me -
is this transparent, tainted apricot contraption.
Squeeze me by hand.
You won't get anything.
No, not even piquant nectar.
The fruits of your labor will be worthless.
So when I try,
I won't.
But whose fault is that?

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