Alexandra Josephine Ameel, Senior, Electrical Engineering, Austin, TX
They called me a lamb
like Jesus, like a sacrifice
white and innocent and pure
unaware of so much in the world.
No one bothered to include me,
to explain what I didn’t understand,
smeared mascara and French kissing
and fake IDs from different states,
but to be fair, I didn’t want to know.
I was afraid of the knowing,
already hiding so much from myself.
I had mastered the skill of repression.
Are most people unable to remember
anything significant before the age of six?
Nothing other than gauzy fear
and muffled voices and a figure
at the end of the hallway, across
from where I lay curled on the floor.
I didn’t want to hear the stories of
hospitals and love affairs,
of pornography and stolen
liquor, pills stored in
backpack pockets, making out
with a nameless stranger.
These were all forbidden,
fruit in the Garden of Eden.
I refused to uncover my ears
at the slightest mention,
boxing myself in,
drowning in denial
of the truths of my own life-
the depressive thoughts,
prescription drugs in the kitchen
cabinets, beer bottles in the trash
can, a marriage built on falsehoods,
loneliness I carried like a cross.