There is a buzzing in my head from tonight’s heavy
laughter and wine, our lips stained red and our feet
sore from dancing in heels we only wear when we
need to be seen, need to tower over an entire city
of shaky self-worth. Stamps on my arm, smoke
in my hair—souvenirs of teenage glory, when
everyone who hates you out of envy is a badge
you pin onto your chest, a trophy you show off
on the top shelf. I end up driving you home,
listening to slurred directions I don’t need, leading
myself into battle against incoming headlights and
a thick cloak of sleep. I wait for you to say thanks,
but all I get is a wink and a wave, a finger to
your lips, urging me not to tell as you sneak in
through your back door. We have secrets that have
embedded themselves into my skin, and I don’t
know at which point I’d agreed to share your sins.
I asked for all of this, didn’t I?

Remember when we promised we wouldn’t let
the day end without forgiving each other? But maybe
the promises you make when you’re six no longer
count when you’re sixteen, the years canceling out
our conviction like writing on the sand washed away
by a frothing wave. Remember when we said we’d
always tell the truth—if not to other people, then
at least to each other? These days you don’t even
look me in the eye when you say there’s a party
you can’t invite me to, I wouldn’t like it there anyway,
I wouldn’t like the guests, I wouldn’t like the music,
I wouldn’t like that version of you anyway. We hide
parts of ourselves in desk drawers and underneath
sheets, far too many places to keep track of.
What happens if we need those parts back someday?
Remember the face paint and glitter and
the pom-poms we made with our hands? Remember
road trips with your dad at the wheel, pit stops
for ice cream cones and popcorn—remember how
you said you’d always wanted a sister? Now it’s all
Friday night strobe lights and scorching beach
weekends, the strained smile that stretches
across your face when I emerge from the bathroom
in a swimsuit, tugging at the strings as if this
would help put everything in place. You have no idea
how much I hear when you nod and turn away.
You have no idea how much damage we have done
to the softer girls we used to be.

Today I saw you scrolling through your feed, 
awarding hearts to everyone’s posts but mine, your 
double-tap aim missing me by a millimeter. I wonder 
why we even still follow each other’s grids, maps 
guiding us nowhere safe. I wonder what you see 
when you see my life in squares.