Happy Place, or The New Jersey Beach That I Went to One Time
close your eyes,
I want you to
think of a happy place.
It can be any place
that makes you feel
calm and peaceful,
no worries in the world
The rippled surface golden and flecked, hot and shining
under the bright sky, that teletubby sunshine,
the sand and the sun battling each other
and both winning at making me squint,
spots flashing across my vision.
I wander to this place in my dreamscape,
When I’m chased by the cold nothingness,
That slick sharp self-sabotage.
I construct precocious castles of hope
With a plastic bucket and tiny shovel.
That woman I was sent to (she had a notebook and coping skills) way back when,
she made me lay in the temperature controlled boxed-in room on a scratchy couch
and breathe a lot.
Pick a happy place,
Or a calm place,
Or where you feel safe.
Blue waves crashing,
cold and fresh in the summer heat,
a quick sprint in
and then back to baking on a towel.
Pre-made sandwiches on smushed bread
and melting ice in the red cooler bag
that I dragged to our spot.
A teeny tiny human with pink cheeks
and a pinker hat wobbles over to wave,
followed by an apologetic older lookalike
and I can’t help but smile.
Drift into a nap that isn't tired
with the murmur of laughs and splashing
guiding me in and out.
Return to the beach any time,
it’s always available in my brain,
but I was only there once,
nearly eight years ago.
This beach isn’t indestructible,
it shouldn’t be the happiest place,
where’s the personal touch, the
significance? My mind is flooded by
rising ocean levels and pollution,
garbage cuts my feet in the sand,
and I throw coping out
like I’m skipping rocks.
is a senior at University at Buffalo majoring in English with a minor in Global Film Studies. She enjoys crocheting, watching scary movies, and naming houseplants after elderly women.
Man of My Dreams
My brain is wired incorrectly and I latch onto inconvenient whims
and his smile twinkles.
Butterfly wings flutter and tangle inside my gut just from
the thought of his name
and I’m not actually sure if I know how to pronounce it.
When I’m drifting into a moonlit fantasy,
he’s there in front of me
with a voice I’ve decided would fit him,
deep and gentle.
He likes sad girl music and collects old cameras and
now when I listen to Moon Song
I only think about him,
I wish I didn’t know his favorite song.
He discusses music and cameras and politics pretentiously,
the answers to questions I've been asking my whole life
reside in his skull and
he’s tall and seems like he would lose in most fights.
I ignore condescension to swim in warm desire
for a stranger who is mostly composed of who I want him to be.
I long for his fingers in my hair,
I imagine his skin is delicately calloused,
but I’ll never know.
He’ll keep living in blissful ignorance
while his phantom sits in my mind