Tess Belger

Angel Mark

After all of these years, I remember
a time when miniature frogs and crickets sang.
Warm air and dark skies,
smooth limestone
on my back, the sun 
branded on my skin.
I remember 
flying but I don’t remember falling,
the ultimate thrill.

After all of this time, I remember 
frosted wonders and moon-kissed lips,
debates between wind and snow.
I remember outstretched tongues
and angel marks on foreheads.

After everything, I remember
the way the trees became earth giants 
sprouted from sowed soil.
Birds became fairies with jasmine wings.
Insects became vampires with bone teeth 
stained heartbeat-red.

I remember gray knit caps,
bodies wrapped in plaid scarfs,
warm engine silence.
Eyes inspired 
by lights that twinkle and fly.
I remember the bowl-of-milk-moon,
how it’s light rippled and smiled over the valleys,
cascaded and laughed down the mountains.
The song of pine and oak
and the scent of life blooming around me.

I remember
I lived.


They all gather together one striding, splintered night to converse and to crush. Crush the armies holding them back to smithereens of metal, metal they would later burn. A disguising of tailors keep their cloaks drawn tight around their sunken frames, pinned at the neck with a swirl of darkness glinting on brass buttons. A worship of writers  sit with eyes open and observant, but not foolishly so. A host of sparrows lend their territory for the meet-up. A charm of goldfinches huddle with smirks temporarily paused by the heaviness, the fighting of beggars already lifting their torches high into the night. I stand in the middle of it all, unseen and unmemorable. The goldfinches will think I belong to the tailors from my concealing-cloak. The tailors will think I was with the sparrows for my air of familiarity, and the sparrows will think I am with the writers, observing this relentless battle. But no, only someone looking closely enough would see that I am not a writer, for my eyes wander foolishly. No one will ever spot me, because one group of descendants thinks I belong to the next, the next to the other. But really I belong to the crush itself.

The Poem

The poem eats fresh strawberries 
pulled from the vine, her fingertips stained 

red as she wanders barefoot 
with cool clay in between her toes.

She dances, she hums
the tune of her favorite song, the one 

she plays at twilight 
from her rusted pickup truck radio. 

The poem holds still to watch 
a ladybug crawl over her fingers 

until it opens and reveals
its delicate midnight-wings underneath. 

She laughs, she cries,
then she lays herself down on the earth 

with the caterpillars and roly polies, 
where she stares up 

at the sky
while little flowers grow into her dreams.

About the Author: Tess Belger is a 15 year-old freshman from Mill Valley, California. Her poems have been recognized by California Poets in Schools, Sixteen Rivers Press, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and The National English Teachers Association. Other than writing, she loves to dance, bake strawberry muffins, and walk in the rain.