White Whale

A white whale—I swim in its mouth all year 

A darkened room, a maze made of keepsakes 

A mauve turtleneck, tight around the shoulders 

Cracked, plastic champagne flutes

Your fingers trace my collarbones until they meet in the middle

A burlap sack race that ends in a tie 

My neck snapped and nobody noticed,

I propped it up with a metal rod and a roll of masking tape, 

A makeshift body, broken, 

Burnt palms in lace gloves

Cover rock bottom with a flashy rug and maybe they won’t notice. 

I was a snake with its tail in its mouth, a cycle too comfortable to break 


Suspicious peace, a buoy in calm waters 

I reevaluate what I hold in my mind, what I hold in my hands 

What I keep in my space

Throw out old birthday cards and letters, sentimentality an unsuspecting enemy 

Purge my bedroom, remove the excess, bare bones

A dam made of twigs

Love leaks in through zigzagged cracks 

But there are things I cannot let go, 

A fermented peach stuck to the bottom of a basket

Fresh cut flowers in a grey-speckled vase 

A zip-up sweater made of soft brown fleece 

Reminiscent of the teddy bear I held to my chest when I slept as a child 

I find the familiarity serene 

This year, I keep my hands in pockets, recoil from outside touch 

Instead, I practice self-love, wrap my arms around my waist 

Pet my forearms, massage my temples 

Cherished companions in tableaux 

The end of the night is the end of the beginning of next year

A blown-out candle means goodbye

A new number to my name, 

A symbolic reset 

A ribbon pinned to my chest means

My survival is always worth celebrating

About the author

Dru Gary (she/they) is a journalist for Youth Mind. She is a queer BIPOC poet and writer and a recent graduate from OCADU with a BFA in Creative Writing. She loves words and the act of stringing them together to create arrangements that are both beautiful and meaningful. They find inspiration in the intangible and attempt to create images out of abstract thought to understand and ground themselves. She ultimately seeks truth and healing through her practice.

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