Running Away


Dirt beneath my feet, rocks poking my toes.

Cold air, fresh. 

Lost, wandering.

Trees tower above, their leaves vast and wild.

Their ancestors of the past crunch beneath.

No one around, safe. 

Intrigue swirls around my head, isolation.

Curves on the horizon mimic mine, ebbing and flowing.

Sun begins to set.


But I am not afraid.

“The land knows you, even when you are lost.”


My grandmother made me a quilt before I was born.

Blues and greens greeted me into this world,

Helped me learned how to crawl, my first word, how to walk.

A labor of love, created for the idea of a human,

I wasn’t real and tangible when she started sewing, but still, she sewed.

At the moment I don’t think she knew how much that quilt would mean to me.

Hold it to my cheek and the worries leave my body,

The cool fabric lowers my body temperature and suddenly I’m a baby again,

Filled with so much love, untouched by the sullied hands of this world.

An ocean of protection, keeping me safe at night.

I love that quilt, and it loves me too.


Harry Potter

Girls shriek and twisted around dangerously,

Orange lights grow large

Insect eyes were windows,

Touched the ground as lightly as a shadow

“Never again”

Marched in obediently

Foraging for scraps of rotten food


It’ll Be Okay

Dear 17-year-old Courtney,

I want you to know what love is, okay? But most importantly, I want you to know what love isn’t.

Love isn’t being used. It isn’t being asked to drive 30 minutes out of your way in order to see that special someone at 3 am. It isn’t having to constantly take care of things that aren’t your problem. It isn’t being put on the backburner with no idea where you stand. It isn’t being left in the middle of a party with people you don’t know, to just stand there and continue to drink your Diet Dr. Pepper. It isn’t being stuck in a hot car with a guy you keep pushing away and asking to stop.

Love is something sacred, something dumb and stupid, something magical. It’s being with your best friend, your protector, your most prized possession and being treated the same. It is communication and clarity. Love is working through the bumps, hard work, ups, and downs.

One night, you’re going to be at a party with a boy you are madly infatuated with, not in love. You’ll think everything is fine. You’ll meet two other boys that night, and they will change your life. One will physically abuse you, one will break your soul. And if I could go back in time and pull your keys out the ignition as you were driving to that godforsaken place, I wouldn’t do it.

When it happens, when the cards begin to fall, you’re going to feel lost. You’ll feel worthless and broken. You may never heal from the scars that you are left with. It happens fast, so pay attention. You’ll notice that in your time of crisis, of life-altering pain, people will leave. And it won’t be until you’re seemingly “fine” that they begin to crawl back. You won’t know how to process the events that transpired, but you will know one thing. You need a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on. And you will take the first thing that comes your way.

Things won’t be great. You’ll stumble through confusing conversations, months of being unable to understand that you are nothing more than a booty call. You’ll be scared to ask hard questions, because deep down you know the answers already. You’ll pour your heart and soul into a boy who doesn’t love you. But it ‘ll take you a few months to realize it.

And then you’ll meet one, final boy. A boy who treats you like you’re a delicate flower. A boy who, on your first date, will look over at you as you’re saying goodbye and ask in the sweetest voice, “Can I kiss you?” A boy who you can be yourself around, tell anything to, trust, and feel safe with.

You’ll cautiously dip your toe into the idea of this boy, and he’ll respect your boundaries. He talks with you to try to understand your hesitations. He makes sure you’re comfortable, happy, safe. He is open with his emotions, unafraid to share them. Never leaves your side at a party.

The boys that you met at the party that night, and the boy you went with, they witnessed a terrible thing happen to you. They were the first people who saw you as you left that car, bruises on your neck, and they said nothing. You’ll stumble into the bathroom, your close friend by your side and start to cry tears that you don’t understand. I’m sorry to say that I still, don’t understand. You’ll lay down, shaking and clutching yourself, feeling like your heart is an ice cream cone left out in the sun.

Love is not letting the person you’re with fall apart like that. Love is not something that can be determined by certain boxes you check off on a list. Love is not something you have to think about.

So, Courtney, I leave you with this, you will break. You will fall. But you will not stay that way.

It’ll be okay.

With Love,

19-year-old Courtney


Hush, can you hear it?

Trickling water pierces the silence.

Run to the dock and don’t look back.

The cold concrete underneath my feet cools me down.

The adrenaline is running hot, like a pot of coffee about to spill over.

Moonbeams cut through the fog and light the path in front of us.

In front of us stands a large shadow, solid and wide, like a mighty fir.


A quiet and worried, “damn” dribbles from my mouth.

The moon sits on the peak of the mountain, like a book on a shelf.

My mouth goes dry, no way out.

A feeling of hopelessness washes over me, like being stuck in a desert with an empty canteen.





Into the wild I go, brazen and brave.

Leave it all behind, no turning back.

Will I ever be satisfied, it seems unlikely.

Brazen and Brave I go.

Crack callouses lead me, following my heart.

Dirty hair spirals out of my head, shielding me from the sun.

My only possession is my soul, it guides me to where I need to be.

Brazen and Brave I go.

My story begins now.

Was it all worth it?

Leaving my family behind, no plans?

Brazen and Brave I go.

And now I’m gone, my name an echo in English class.

My choices marked with red pen and yellow highlighter.

More known in death, than I ever was during life.

Brazen and Brave I go.

Into the wild, I went.


He loves taquitos and dancing with me in the moonlight,

holding hands, playing with my hair,

tender kisses and blasting music while cooking,

rubbing my chest when I’m not feeling good and making things with his own two hands.


He hates the feeling of inadequacy and the taste of coconut,

the way his hair looks without gel,

when people voice their opinions without considering the other point of view,

people who merge on the freeway without using their turn signal.


… And he chose me. 


It starts slowly and then builds and builds.

Pick it apart slowly, really, really, listen.

Let it lull you into a state of pure peace.

Forget the skyscrapers, the mountains, the monuments.

Forget it all because, in this blissful moment, it is just you.

There is nothing bigger than you, nothing smaller.

Everything is one, striding along melodiously.

With each change in notes, feel you, yes you, change.

You roll down a hill, the sun dipping low on the horizon.

Your giggles can’t be tamed, the dry grass in your hair frames your face.

No worries.

In this moment, everything is okay.

Tears fill your eyes, and sobs spill from your lips.

Holding yourself tight, a crescendo of emotion.

And the song starts again.


Eyes open slowly, adjust in the dark.


Shallow breaths, shallow breaths.

Lips purse, I scream.

Sweat pools around the nape of my neck, dripping down my back.

The air is thick inside.


Sunglasses secured into place, it’s bright outside.


Cool air pours in through my window, I take a deep breath.

A scream rings out from my trunk, I turn the music up louder.

A police car drives past, I nod, my hands sweaty.

It’s a beautiful day out.

No, Wait

In constant agony, pain

Unsafe, unsure, scared

Take my hand, let me help you