You Said It

Someday Our Youth Will Be Behind Us

Our inaugural edition of reader poetry.

Illustration by Beth

Illustration by Beth

Marla Miniano

Divorce Is a Dirty Word

Daddy bought us a condo unit—
Two-bedroom, fully furnished, brand new,
ready for occupancy—
on the other side of town, far from
the smell of Mom’s cooking,
the sound of her voice,
the sight of her face in the morning.

(They keep reassuring us it isn’t
our fault; it’s not like anybody
ever thought it was. We don’t talk
about the pajamas we left in the closet
back at the old house,
just in case. We don’t talk
about our sudden allowance raise,
the price of gasoline,
the cleaning lady who comes once a week
and turns on the television
for some ambient noise courtesy of a telenovela
about a mustached Don and his querida.)

Amenities include an Olympic-sized pool,
a modern gym with state-of-the-art equipment,
function rooms, free Wi-Fi,
24-hour security, guaranteed,
wide doorways and high ceilings built to accommodate
the elephant in the room.


There is a voice grown-ups reserve
for little boys and girls—they pull their words out of hats
and infuse them with joy and wonder,
transforming them into seesaws and swing sets,
cotton candy and carousels, toy trucks and train tracks,
bunny ears and doves. Sometimes one has to wonder
if they remember this voice from their own childhood,
from afternoons at the park waiting for rainbows
and magic, from houses with airy kitchens
and sunny porches, from their grandfather’s lap, his hands
leathery and smelling of smoke. One has to wonder
just how much they remember.

On rare occasions it is the same voice they use
on bigger boys and girls like us,
but those moments are so few
and far between that we tend
to forget, and anyway those voices are lost
to the sounds of slamming doors, engines
rumbling to life, fingers flying over a keyboard.

And yet, a promise: we will hear this voice again
from our own selves, in the future. We will reserve it
for people we love—
sad grown men and women who might need
to feel like children again—and we will take good care
of one another, because that is mostly what
we have learned through the years. We will listen
for the chance to recognize in one another
our smaller, simpler selves.

Someday our youth will be tiny, distant flags
behind us (it is hard to picture this,
but try), and we will tell our sons and daughters
that when the world is too big, and everyone
just wants to be larger than life, it helps
to feel little again.


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  • whatever April 19th, 2013 3:12 PM

    what a great collection! i’m going to print out some of these and stick them on my wall ♡♡
    “rather” on page 11 made me laugh


  • Ree April 19th, 2013 3:23 PM

    Gosh, Rookie readers are the best, this is brilliant in every way :-)

  • o-girl April 19th, 2013 4:09 PM

    “There is a 13-year-old girl,
    tall for her age, gangly.”
    This is a perfect description of me. Perhaps the exact definition of my appearance.

  • FlowerandtheVine April 19th, 2013 4:30 PM

    This is really a tremendous collection. It’s amazing how people can feel so many of the same emotions, while going through completely different situations!

  • indigosunday April 19th, 2013 4:49 PM

    Such a great poetry collection

  • KatGirl April 19th, 2013 5:50 PM

    Summer Nights T_T

  • paige.xo April 19th, 2013 6:14 PM


  • Jasmine April 19th, 2013 6:39 PM

    very lovely to see so much talent c:
    it definitely inspires me

  • Bianca April 19th, 2013 6:52 PM

    Aw Rookie has such talented readers! Their words and hearts on page move me greatly…nice job everyone <3

    PS – I also followed the links left in comments above by readers to their blogs…also very cool.

  • Maddie April 19th, 2013 7:21 PM

    This is such a beautiful collection of poems! I love that Rookie publishes reader work… thank you!

  • Miss Pink April 19th, 2013 8:28 PM

    LOVE this collection!! Such talented poets! <3

  • TessAnnesley April 19th, 2013 9:26 PM

    looooooooooooord i love all of you

  • rockwrenroll April 19th, 2013 9:36 PM

    I just watched Dead Poets Society, so I’ve been on a bit of a poetry kick lately. These are wonderful.

  • AnaRuiz April 19th, 2013 9:39 PM

    Things like this help me understand what Mary Poppins referred to with “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

  • wishfulwanderer April 20th, 2013 12:54 AM

    These are so great! I am kind of disappointed though that I didn’t submit my poetry… will there be another edition of reader poetry?

  • Tara A. April 20th, 2013 1:00 AM

    Rookie readers are amaaaazing and so talented! This collection is the best!

  • Tangerine April 20th, 2013 2:01 AM

    This is so so great

  • Cactus Woman April 20th, 2013 4:35 AM

    I have been waiting for something like this for SO LONG. You’ve no idea. Can’t wait to submit to a future one!

    ~*~**THANK YOU!**~*~

  • diniada13 April 20th, 2013 6:30 AM

    Love these!!! But if I want to submit poetry should it match the monthly theme?

    • Anaheed April 20th, 2013 6:34 AM

      No, it doesn’t have to.

  • Alex S. April 20th, 2013 10:51 PM

    I can almost feel the words behind these poems, is that weird? It might be but these are beautiful, can’t wait to see this revisited in the future.

  • cornly_ April 21st, 2013 9:05 AM


  • cornly_ April 21st, 2013 9:12 AM

    P.s Childhood Playmates made me kind of tear up, it was just beautiful.

    • chestnutsumo85 April 21st, 2013 3:22 PM

      thank you so much! – Sophie

  • Ella W April 21st, 2013 1:26 PM

    I wish this was a monthly piece on Rookie!

  • Maddy April 21st, 2013 10:26 PM

    IS STEVE HAPPY?! More poetry! :D

  • abby111039 April 22nd, 2013 8:06 PM

    I wish I had read these sooner. What a lovely collection of poems.

  • April 23rd, 2013 1:25 PM

    This was just beautiful.

  • HaverchuckForPresident April 27th, 2013 4:47 PM

    I really love these. The fact that they are from this community with people around my own age thinking and going through similar things as me makes them super-relatable. I especially like Keep Open, Consumable Yourh Rebellion and Divorce is a Dirty Word :) :) :)

  • pubertyblues April 28th, 2013 11:44 PM

    every single one of these made me cry

  • Rini July 29th, 2013 11:13 PM

    So fresh:)