Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Twenty-seventh Contest :: First Place Winner


You're doing ok

by Svea Kucinic
You are three when you learn to let
the prettier girl tell you your role in the game.
And you come to hate the pockets on your dress,
because they ruin the princess image.
You write your name with the first letter
facing the wrong way 'round.

You are six when you realize that
you will never be that person
who walks into a room like a photon
and speaks like a hypnotist.
You are the dust particle and the drone
of traffic at peak hour.
Your handwriting is horrible.

You are eight when you swear
to grow your hair down to your heels,
and grow up to be a phenomenon;
water surface tension, gravity, a lunar eclipse.
You decide to be a thing people can't look
straight at. You get your first library card and
it feels like a victory.

You are eleven when you cut
your hair for the first time.
You cut it short. You look like a boy.
You laugh like a girl. You dance like a
hydrophobic particle on water.
Your handwriting is still horrible.

You are fourteen when you start anew.
You are blank to strangers' eyes and
your skin feels cleaner. Your blood, however,
feels too full. The prettier girl is no longer here
to tell you which part to play.
You get another library card.

You are sixteen when you start pruning
the dead branches off your tree. You are
angry and it's good. You never think you're wrong.
You sleep like the dead
and dream like you've got every right to.

You are seventeen when you decide
that you take up too much space,
that you are too heavy for your bones.
You still want to be a phenomenon. You
forget that supernovas never shrink. You
refuse to feed your ecosystem and the bees in you
die.

You are eighteen when you start anew, again.
Another library card. You are frightened and
determined. It's a formidable thing to be.
You talk like a hurricane and dance with heavy feet
on the grave of petty childhood enemies.
You try to be kind and soft and wise. You fail.

You are twenty when you learn to love
your brothers who have since grown up
and become people of their own.
And to love the rare people who haven't
disappointed you yet. Or who disappoint
only rarely. You beg forgiveness for the times
when you were the disappointment.
You switch from pencils to pens.

You are twenty when you learn to love the bees
in your mind, and the cyclones in your heart.
You stop trying to mold your body into
a different sculpture and learn to admire the clay.
You learn to say “no” as a sentence unto itself.
Your handwriting is still horrible.
You have several library cards.

You are twenty-one when you tell your brother
the truth you've learned about yourself.
You are conflicted and frightened and buzzing and alive.
You unlearn so many things and it makes you a bit wiser.
You decide that your feet should march. You're learning pride.
It's scary and exciting and it's life.
You still sleep with a book under your pillow
because some things never change.
You're doing ok.

It's two decades and counting,
and you are too late, but still always
just the right age when you say:

“I am my own mirror.
I reflect within myself a thousand times.

I am the mirror and the smoke screen,
The hiding place, the hidden place, and the painted canvas.

I am the two-page poem that I wrote
In class, while I was bored.

I am the anger and the fury.
I am loud. I take up space.

I am every word, every bad pun.
I own up to it all. I own up to myself.”

You're doing ok.

About the Author
I'm a 21-year-old graduate student from Zagreb, Croatia, at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences. I've been dabbling in poetry writing ever since secondary school, both in English and in Croatian, since I've been exposed to literature and poetry from an early age by my teachers and my family. My other interests include traditional Irish dancing and watercolour painting.
Second Place Winner
Blue Mountain Arts