“Little Miss Black Hole,” “Girls” and “Why Are All the Poets Sad?”

by Grace Piotrowski

Little Miss Black Hole

She hid all these years

aloof, afraid of the camera

knowing it would add ten pounds

to an already unmeasurable amount of mass

No wonder she kept hidden

in support groups with

bigfoot and the lochness

lamenting the exoticization of their image

the fascination with their existence

preferring to linger in stories

and theories

afraid she wouldn’t live up to the awe

of how she took up space

to the wonder of how she did the

opposite of light up a room

and the beauty in that ability

and she was right

they said it was no big deal

they said it wasn’t that beautiful

but I, say it was stunning

she was stunning

and so were the women behind the camera

the women behind the math behind the camera

I mean look at how far we’ve come

to see new parts of the universe and dare

to call them unmoving

as if beauty is in appearance and not

discovery itself

Girls

we are 9 years old

and we don’t wear a bra because we need it

we wear it because Ashley, the coolest girl in 4th grade

made fun of us for our undershirt last week in gym class

since then, our body has never felt like something we owned

instead always under the watchful eye of

the 7th grade history teacher

the boy in the high school cafeteria

the businessman on the subway

no matter how old, he never learned how to make eye contact

with the right parts of our body

always forgot where our eyes were

how easy it is to ignore a voice when you don’t see someone’s mouth

we are 15 years old

silly and stubborn and insecure

shopping for clothes and seeking attention

but never getting it from the right people

instead we’re followed by the old men who look at us like objects

don’t trust anything we say yet believe that they can interpret the language of our body

believe we are always using it to speak to them

ignore our presence until its appearance can do nothing but tempt

how easy it is to devalue a human when you’ve never noticed her for what she is

or what she was

we are 21 years old adult and alone

coming home and we can feel our limbs being dissected in the mind of a man standing

beside us

just waiting for the train

just trying to stay out of his way

maybe then we can stay out of his mind

we never gave our consent to be trapped in there

and yet there we were

how empty you can feel when you know part of you is lifeless in someone’s head

I am two blocks away from my apartment

a man is yelling at me in the street

I’m wearing my keys between my knuckles

holding my breath between each street light

One wrong look and I could’ve died

Sometimes I forget that it’s a miracle

each night I make it home alone & alive

Why Are All the Poets Sad?

because the poets have old souls

we’ve seen too much and remember it all

or at least, feel it all

the weight of history is heavy

because the poets are weighed down by the notebooks on the nightstand

the similes written on the napkins in our pockets

the pens in our purses

the scribbles on our sandwich receipts

because the poets are poor

our art doesn’t pay the bills

last week we spent our last $5 on a beer

and now we’re broke and sober

because the poets are lonely

after our lovers leave, upset with us

when we interrupt sex to write down the color of the ceiling tile

that we’ll compare it to later

because the poets no longer get presents from their parents

mom and dad don’t understand our artistic lifestyle

don’t support the drugs that give us our dreams

since day one we’ve always been the black sheep

because the poets are lost,

forever searching for that perfect line

that perfect rhyme that we thought of before bed

and didn’t write down

thinking we would remember it

why are all the poets sad?

because the poets have old souls

we’ve seen too much and remember it all

or at least, feel it all

the weight of history is heavy

About the Author

Grace Piotrowski

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Grace is a graduate of Northwestern University and currently works in the social sector. In addition to reading and writing, in her free time Grace loves to visit obscure museums, sing show tunes in the shower, and watch late night comedians.