Punting Everything We Don’t Have The Guts To Say Into The Sky

by Amanda Pendley

little kids blush when confronted with crushes
though it may be the purest form of love
any of us will ever have
I’m stumbling upon more and more days lately
when I wish I could go back to that
we always teased zach about shannon
and you teased me about zach and his
soccer trained legs that punted kickballs
studying the process of
pulling back the foot in preparation
intelligent trepidation of the blow to come
we were always smarter than we thought we were
over the house kickball became a neighborhood phenomenon
kids would rally around cheerful and chanting
but most of the time it would just be the three of us
the game remained our only source of autonomy
over our anger
we owned our pain and little else
and saved it like a two-dollar bill to spend on those special days
where we would punt everything we didn’t have the guts to say
into the sky and watch as it crashed back down to
the earth like fallen angels
we were falling angels
too afraid to pick ourselves off the pavement
in fear of finding an outline of a dead body below
we didn’t want to become dead bodies below
so we rolled the ball and ran towards it
bellowing as we watched all of our rage go up
over the houses and into the field beyond the backyard fences
far away from us heaving heavy catharsis screaming bodies
hands on knees panting
you and me dancing
spun around and swaying along
to the things we didn’t say
but understood to be true enough anyways
praying we would be enough
to keep each other’s bodies breathing
in the upcoming years of constant needing
ten years later we’re still believing
that we left parts of ourselves

outside on the neighbor’s back lawns
those afternoons
growing up came way too fast
but was gone so soon
now we’re drawing each other’s potential portraits
outlines and future fortune cookie greetings
we will be okay
even though our pasts are still internally bleeding
still kicking and throwing us down
at random moments
you have taught me that I am more than ripped open
soccer ball stitches
and dead washed up feelings left to decay in ditches
cars crashed and windows smashed
shattered glass
kickball through the torn open curtains
you and I were never anything other than certain
of our homes made within each other
there were no break ins necessary
only open-door policies
we watch our pasts fly over our heads above
land in the back field covered in mud
and wait for us to stumble and rush
to go retrieve it
but lately we have learned to take our
sweet
sweet
time
and on our way back
we pass by
you and me still dancing
still crushing
still limping
still loving
still panting to the sound of the
world wheezing past us
when i go home
i’m reminded that i’m so glad the neighbors
never asked us
to get off their goddamn driveways
and interrupt all the
dead and dying things
we never had the guts to say.

Artist: Merri Cherry 

Amanda Pendley is a twenty-year-old writer from Kansas City who is currently studying Creative Writing and Publishing at the University of Iowa. She has previously worked as an editor for award winning teen literary magazine Elementia and as the Nonfiction Editor of Ink Lit Mag. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of Ink Lit Mag. Her work has appeared in publications of Ramona Magazine, Crêpe and Penn Literary Magazine, Outrageous Fortune Magazine, and many others. She often finds inspiration in Lorde songs, the wonders of midwestern peculiarities, and by doing the most important thing one can do in the world: listening.

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