turning fifteen


here is how we will measure the weight of everything:
in absences. the empty rectangle in the drawer 
where my diary used to live, the gap
in my closet, that clean fabric grin, where 
my flower-sequined white dress once hung like a baby tooth.
i watch videos of me and do not recognise the face –
first steps, dances, choir performances, defined 
by the distance between myself and myself.

in may, i will be fifteen absences hollow.
my history took up half my body, the jubilant heft
of catching games and long division drills and
laughter; joy like a 6am sunny-side up before school, like a full belly.
i hear memory is the residue mistakes leave on your hands. better that it’s gone. but

if i’m empty now,
is that freedom or desolation?

Constance Goh (Class of 2023) is turning sixteen soon. Constance’s writing process involves opening a Google Document, opening thesaurus.com, opening rhymefinder.net, opening rhymezone.com, opening rhymezone.com, opening r…