It's bittersweet to share Sage's final piece today! Thank you so much for sharing your art with us, Sage!
Phoebe has a voice like fondue poured over gravel. It slips into the cracks and coats it. It steams, the kind of steam that soothes you when you’re sick. Phoebe is built like a birch tree draped in tarps. You could hang yourself from a hammock in her branches. Her tarps would keep you dry when it rains. Phoebe lets me braid her hair; Phoebe doesn’t know how herself. Phoebe’s hair is like chocolate baleen curled by salt water.
Phoebe keeps her hands in her pockets. I think she is hiding them there. She is saving them for something special, I think - like touching her own face. She will take them out when she is ready. Sometimes she takes them out to hug me, and I feel loved. Sometimes she takes them out to push me away…and I feel loved.
Phoebe is a kaleidoscope image of her father: the same person, twisted into something prettier. He grew resentment in a garden, picked it, and she came out with ideals. She translates his resentment for me sometimes. Did he teach you the language of resentment, Phoebe? Was it your first? You never speak it, but you clearly know it. You see such beauty in his worldview. You are the beautiful version of his worldview. You want to believe his worldview is beautiful. Is that why you translate resentment but never speak in its tongue? Do you want to justify to the world his anger? Do you want to translate it because, in a first language, his words sound beautiful to you?
Phoebe likes to cook. She squeezes the salt water from her hair and pours the fondue from her voice over the coals to make it boil. Her hands can touch heat and, like magic, only come away a little pink. I wish mine could do that. Do you know it’s magic, Phoebe? Would you teach me? Do you even know how you do it? Do people born speaking resentment speak it forever unless they learn to translate it into ideals like you do? Does learning how not to burn easy come with speaking resentment? Are you ever confused when I tell you something burns? Is it because you’re magic?
Sage is a 17-year-old senior from Edmonds, Washington. They have loved reading and writing poetry for years. Among their favorite poets are Fatima Aamer Bilal, Richard Siken, and Sabrina Benaim. They believe that symbolism and allegory exist to communicate emotions that can't truly be captured literally. They use writing as a form of self-expression and are happy to be able to share that.