we are sixteen, girls made out of broken things,
out so late the angels working the night shift are starting to head home,
streaking their paths of cloud away from the first light of dawn.
morning is touching our torn-up kneecaps.
everything is aching and everything is as it was
supposed to be.

we are not lost, not yet, just touching on living.
trying to make the lie of a perfect teenage evening
into something we’ve seen and this night,
this night we tried to do stereotypical fucked-up
things and she is drunk, this dear love of mine,
her head on my shoulder as the sun comes up.

it is before anything got broken, the time we’d use
as a sepia-filtered picture marking moments before
the world tore us in two, and I am holding hands with a
girl who doesn’t love me as I love her. but everything
is still perfect, right down to the rips on my hands & the
blood in the toes of pointe shoes.

we are all studio trained in the process of puberty legs,
just a bit too strong to be children, a bit too small to be
anything like all the way grown, and there is such
limitless joy in the beat of the metronome.

I am seventeen and he is twenty, and we are a thing
made from calculated risk & unspoken fear, but it’s worth it.
There’s no potential of pain, not here, not
when my head is on his chest, when his lips are on my
neck, when we are a mess of desire and eternal want.

we are all a tangle of limbs and touch and
stupid fucking memes and good music,
and I don’t want to be anywhere else,
which is what I’ve always thought love was—
the simple act of not wanting to be
anywhere (or anyone) else.

I have turned eighteen, alone, in quarantine,
filled my stomach with strawberries and
the memories of what I wanted this day to be.
The gaping pit of grief for lives not lived grows,
and I treat her as if she is hunger,
just a cause for another berry.

I am waiting, alone, for the impossible
knife of memory to slice my day in two,
to bring me back to the memories of times
that only come back in flashes.

A.Tingstad is a student currently on a gap year before starting college. She’s vibrantly queer, the proud owner of an ever-growing collection of sweatshirts, and is never seen without her giant blue water bottle, Ophelia. In 2018, she attended a Poetry Intensive at Wellesley College, during which she began the practice of writing a poem every day. She’s recently graduated from the Get Lit Emerging Writers Fellowship, during which she wrote her debut chapbook, Wanton Need.