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His T-Shirt

Why I Write?

…to be liberated is to be free of all that may impede you. For me, this is a state of mind that can only be achieved through self-evaluation. Why? Because true evaluation of yourself illuminates your fears, troubles, and hurts. Only when they are brilliantly lit, can you scoop them up and eat them. Destroy these feelings by consuming all their light. Knowing why you feel the way you feel. Dealing with why you wander to wherever you are on earth’s lush pasture. Only then can you defeat those pricking things that defeat you by knowing who the true you. Every demented thought hiding in the shadows. Every sweet dream whispered into bulbous clouds. The sickening mixture of feelings causing a raucous reaction that you undoubtedly wish you could retract. By loving the good, the bad, and the ugly along with the simmering sweet goodness of you is to truly love yourself. Understanding the complexities of you. You are uncategorically. You are many things and one thing. You are undeniably unique. You are the first and the last. In mediating on these things, you discover you are liberated because you are conscious of yourself. Despite whatever ugliness you feel, you love that which is you.

In my poetry, I liberate myself through self-evaluation. It is my heartbeat, my tingling nerves, my hot tears, the music of my mouth, the twitch of my brow etched onto the skin of a tree; it is me. Thank you for hearing.

His T-shirt

Seven years out the womb I wore your t-shirts

Tip-toeing into your room I open the lowest drawer

And snatched my favorite tee

Grey shirt with navy blue

Letters etched on the top

Beige shirt with the pink sleeves

The blue shirt, baseball shirts

Coke-a-cola shirts, white shirts

Work shirts, old shirts, new shirts —

I would take

Snuggle into and breathe deep

SLEEP into infantile

Dreams of candyland and uno

Lounging with Ariel

Gossiping with Mother Willow

Painted with sunset

It was warm and safe

Nine years later

I can’t wear your shirts

Your t-shirts are suffocating me

Battling my infantile memory

With reality

In the reality of

Paycheck to paycheck living

Student loans

House foreclosure

Death, stress, love

Your t-shirts were suffocating

And I wanted to relieve

The tightness

Rip the t-shirt

Open, restructure it, mend it

So that it is just right for

Me, for us

But you didn’t- not that you couldn’t

Trapped in the oblivion stretches of your imagination

Caught up in the glory of your new found freedom

Destroying four shirts for unblemished ones

Your freedom suffocates me

Turning breathlessness into breathless anger

my longing is unfilled

because your t-shirts don’t fit me


About the author: Jasmine Willis is a storyteller who started carving images and sounds into words in the mountain of Virginia. She followed this passion at University of Virginia and continues to find passion in her craft. Find her on Twitter at @Jazzandra_J