an ode to patellar contusions

Kyrah Gomes

my scraped knees are tinted with the primary colored paint

of the schoolyard. the memories have cheapened but they hurt still,

sepia-toned yet somehow fresher than morning dew.


i scrubbed at them with the bristles of dollar-store toothbrushes

dipped in rubbing alcohol, secretly relishing in the burn. the scratches

on my palm disappear in the daylight, simple wounds of self-protection.


sometimes i pick at the half-healed scabs, pink-backed and ringed in white.

every year has added another layer, but my mother’s fingers untangle

the barbed-wire worries from my tresses. suddenly i am nine years old again,


made of strawberry jam, in a world as soft as rabbit fur - not innocent,

but still simple. i want to wrap these moments in silk and swallow them,

settled inside my heart forever, right between my aorta and right atrium


so they can trickle slowly into my pulse. the world has shifted since then,

but the sun still knows all of my secrets, like how i still count my steps

endlessly in my head, one-two-three, always with the right foot first,


a teabag steeped in superstition and perched on the edge of bitterness.

my mother, my muse - i vow to wear my bruised knees and bright colors

proudly like she taught me, swim in the midnight gulf of my dreams,


hold my heart in my hands and let beams of sunlight shine through the cracks.

for now i make her orange-scented scones, drizzle them in a sticky-sweet glaze

of all the things i am unsure of how to say - thank you, i’m sorry, i love you.






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Kyrah Gomes is a 17 year old student living in NYC who loves poetry, literature, making jewelry, and authentic self-expression. In her free time, she can probably be found making super specific Spotify playlists or daydreaming about travelling.