Vestigial Structures

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Long ago my ancestors left the trees 

with their tailbones tucked between their legs,

and they turned out fine.

Snakes did the same

And grew out their spines,

More than I could ever hope to,

Lost some things along the way

And are still with us today.

Who needs tonsils anyway?

Consult the appendix,

All you like,

You won’t find a good reason.

“All these pieces of me,

From yesteryear,

Are still here,”

I said, getting goosebumps.

If my flaws make me human,

Then what about the leftovers,

From when I definitely wasn’t?

In doing what it takes to survive,

You cannot afford,

To go back to the drawing board,

And you can’t correct the record,

When your body is the archive.

DECLASSIFIED: In the Sunroom

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View the original poem here.

I like to think of memories as daydreams with instructions. Your brain- I guess by extension you- already has a sort of template to visualize that past experience. It isn’t a perfect mechanism, of course, but it doesn’t have to be to be a vivid, mostly accurate account. In the Sunroom tries to put one of these clear memories to paper and the results are quite gray and wet.

It felt like an April shower, I sat on a toy chest in my cousin’s titular sunroom around the age of four or five years old. I particularly remember the smell, since the deck itself was only screened-in, I could smell the rain, and the wood where it splashed through the mesh. The “pitter-patter” it made on the roof was really distinct as well because I remember the house being silent otherwise. There were patches of illuminated ground that moved with the Swiss-cheese clouds.

Until you see a sun shower, you think of rain and sunshine as mutually exclusive, but really there are many gray areas in life and the weather doesn’t care about offending any preconceived notions you may have of it.

Oh right, robins. There were some robins, I suppose they were robins given their appearance (brown on the top with red bellies) but the memory, like the robins themselves, is just a bit fuzzy and I could be wrong. Still, I remembered birds wandering in and out of the light, pecking at the ground and generally not thinking very much about anything. I soon realized they were calling out to each other, which grew more dissonant as the chorus swelled and swayed.

“The wind whips and whisks the wisps” is actually the first line of this poem I had written. It came to me on an unrelated stroll through my campus where I decided I would, of all things, look up for a moment. The words just kind of welled-up as soon as I saw some slow-moving cumulonimbi.