For The Record
by Anna Studsgarth | March 18, 2022
you have grown too big.
too full of images like water in fist, like sand between fingers,
unreliable as ink on page.
for the record, there will only ever again be vague flashes, just
the cucumber slipping out the end of your sandwich
pieces of gravel in your knees
the sea on a stormy day
the first time you realised you’d grown hips.
the crease behind his ear
that his dad has, too.
streaks of blue nail polish and cat fur on your jumpers
and uneven stitching.
the smell of bubble mixture,
and the time your dad hit a hedgehog with the car
(sick, dead, thump)
the fish section of a foreign supermarket
and the shiniest coin in your collection
and the puppet in your grandma’s drawer that you were scared to
look at except maybe
out of the corner of your eye.
the beginnings of strep throat
and that same medicine you still taste from time to time
when you wake in the middle of the night
and don’t know where you are.
crushing mint leaves between your fingers
in the garden.
the texture of the fur of your favourite bear.
or better, light-up trainers. or worse, no light-up trainers.
or worse still, losing your light-up trainers in the trampoline park, and having to limp
across the parking lot in shameful socked feet.
all the bedrooms you’ve ever slept in.
the things you thought you’d lost and cried when you found again.
all the things you’ve lost.
all the things you don’t yet know are lost.
all the hairclips and the ribbons from birthday presents
not to mention the birthday cards.
all the water you’ve swallowed in pools and oceans
and water parks
and the things you’ve left behind in return
(jelly shoes still floating somewhere on the italian coast)
all the days you’ve counted down on the back of your bedroom door
and the days kept going
and never lost count.
even when people stopped counting the candles
on your birthday cake.
even when you started counting digits on scales,
and keeping score,
but not, this time, in swing tennis.
even when you learned about beautiful and ugly
and wondered if you were either.
even if you don’t, anymore,
hold hands to cross the road. ∎
Words by Anna Studsgarth. Art by Rachel Jung.