Corkscrew in My Head

I remember leaving the restaurant trying to leave again and then walking on the street dark and I remember a boy’s face I think that’s all and now I’m here. Lying on the pavement with a corkscrew 
must be halfway—feels like it      
through my head. I know it was Thursday when I went to dinner but now it’s bright must’ve been here all night. My head hurts. From the corkscrew. When I really roll my eyes back I see that it is also a bottle opener. Most corkscrews are also bottle openers. It actually feels like it’s moving in there like it’s doing some kind of work it needs to get done sort of a drill kind of thing. At least I’m thinking this way. At least I’m not thinking dead people are still alive and trees grow in the ocean.

I left the restaurant early I said I had to go because I had to wake up early the next morning because it was awkward when Aunt Eleanor said something about her body. It was one of those nice places. 
Hard butter, dark, small ceiling, dark sauce, water in wine glasses. 
They pour it out the side of the pitcher and not out of the spout. 
I never thought about what I was ordering for dinner, because I knew Dad would pay for it and I didn’t know I’d be seeing it again anytime soon, I didn’t know I’d be smelling it next to me on the pavement. I felt lucky that Dad would pay for anything, and I wouldn’t have to think twice, but I’d give back the lamb to have this corkscrew out of my head. 
There are people all around me in a circle. 
Their heads look like a flower in the sky, leaning over me. 
Flower spinning. 
They are all talking. It’s hard to string words together to make sentences of what they are saying. I can think and deeply but not string. 
“in there”
But that may just be fatigue. Waking up. Grogginess. I felt that way most mornings, waking up for school during the school year, waking up for bagels during the summer in New York, and in an icy room in the winter. I don’t like waking up. My brother once said we would be the happiest creatures in the world if we were always asleep. I said we wouldn’t know it, and I wasn’t sure if he meant we humans or we us. That was Christmas morning. He opened a small box from Mom and Dad, it had a car key in it, and he said to me, hushed, “I wish I could fall asleep at the wheel, and drive into a truck, and explode.” I said that’s deep, and now I have a corkscrew in my brain, so I hope he’s happy.

I try to get up, keeping one forearm on the ground and waving my other hand in the air because I think someone will help me up, but this big woman, who has kind of a Russian accent or something, pins my shoulders down and says “wait for the ambulance!” I fall back down on my side. A guy with a blue belt reaches his hand toward the corkscrew and touches it. Everyone tells him to stop. He says it’s okay don’t worry he took anatomy. He says he was a bartender. They all say he’s an idiot, but I sort of like this guy. He’s trying to help me. 

About twenty yards away, the boy who stabbed me is standing in front of a tree. Where my hand is now I can feel the wad of cash that he was wanting to steal. I don’t know if he’s shocked from the blood, or even if I am bleeding, but I think his family told him never to hide because that makes you prime suspect, and he doesn’t know that that’s abstract and that I am going to tell everyone it was him, before I die. He’s poor. The way he is looking into my eyes, I feel like there must be blood in them. His eyes pierce. His body is so still, I almost believe that this corkscrew is making me imagine him. I start trying to point at him. Feel like I am dying. The ambulance pulls up just now and these people in blue all run towards the crowd—the crowd got bigger. A muscley black medic wants me to speak, as they put me on a stretcher. He says to please speak to him. 

“I can talk just fine.” He asks if I know my name. I do. If I know the year? I do. 
“Everything is fine I think. It’s just my toes. I can’t really scrunch them.”
“Can you make a fist?”
“Yes. Just my toes. I can’t scrunch them. The muscles are…Something’s like, wrong with the muscles or something in my toes.”
“Do you know who attacked you?”

Is there a part of your brain that functions just for scrunching your toes? Corkscrew in my brain and it hit that part.

Victoria Y. (High School, 2011-2) (p#10380)

The sweet sound

The sweet sound 
of a dead bird.
The piercing screech 
of her babies 
singing to themselves.
The low howl of
the wind,
blowing them
to their deaths
by my garbage can,
disintegrating into
Young lives 
but death 
is not 

Meike L. (Middle School, 2011-2) (p#10381)

Dear Stephen,

Dear Stephen,
So much has been happening here.
It’s so hard not to have you around.
The cats miss you.
So does Lila.
She has just started third grade.
I’m coming over to see you.
I miss you.

I seal the envelope and lay it on the table.
I lay the table for three,
Staring longingly at the white plate,
With a baby’s handprint.
It’s your favorite plate,
And you always eat with it.
I picked Lila up from school.
We ate in silence,
The soft scraping against the plates.
We got in the car,
The bright lights reflecting onto your face,
And I look at you.
I smile,
But you scream.
I swirl around
To see the car coming towards us.
I panic.
I slam the brakes,
But it seems as if nothing happens,
And we slam into the car in front of us.

Everything came back to me at that moment.
The car crash,
The hospital,
The slamming doors.
Lila looks at me
And sees my pain.
“Let’s go.”
She pulls me away,
And I drop the letter onto your grave.