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Why I Hate Weed by Amber Castellanos

I learned in D.A.R.E

about the pointy plant that grows in the ground

earned a T-shirt and a dance for a promise

That Beats in my stomach

with the nausea of Winter’s Past

That Jan. 15th the only present you could give me was walking out the door

maybe that’s why I hate the cold so much

Happy Birthday to me.

How could such a prickly piece of chlorophyll call your name louder than my begging?

something so small and unimportant they say.

It could be something much worse.

Well that’s how eight years and a stomach pump later his body was found on the 110.

It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I found out

how one little girl’s superhero

turned into the glaze-eyed man

A face so animated by adventure and politics

I use to climb up on your back

And ask you to hold me up so I could touch the sky

lent him my car one day and it came back smelling of skunk-scented oranges

still ripe in the bag as I opened up my trunk

You had told me that they were a sweet treat that we could take for lunch.

Now we both live in the same small town

he’ll never know

and I can barely watch the news

I had told you my one golden Rule.

You’d given me that side smile

and a nod

the color in your eyes glimmering

under the community college's setting sun

as we descended

down into floor 0 of G5

A year later I made out with you under the clock tower

The acrid taste of your tainted saliva made me gag.

I believed you

when you said that it wasn’t yours.

Like someone else's lies could linger in your throat.

Like someone else's screams could escape your lips

I was bestowed the gift of asthma at birth

and the curse of heartache by the putrid smoke

that now went by a new name

somehow I still yearned to trust, to believe

but you broke that too.

And yet

there are still people out there who think

That messing with someone’s reality isn’t abuse.

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