When We Were Countries
is an anthology of "Poems and stories by outstanding high school writers, 2010."
If you need a gauge of the difference between their generation and our own, this is it.
You and I would write stores about our summers at camp
or baseball fantasies or our funny uncle or our wonderful hometown.
These kids are writing about death and drugs and riots and reincarnation.
In this volume of almost two hundred stories and poems,
there is little sentiment ... and much direct comment on the frailties of the world.
It is published by Hanging Loose Press.

When I Die
Dress in black for a month.
Dress in black on my birthday every year.
Bring me flowers to make up for
the roses you didn't get me on my Sweet Sixteen.

Say a prayer for me.
Bend down and kiss my cold cheek.
That is what kissing me on
a February morning would have felt like.

Give my mother a hug.
Don't let any of our friends date my sister.
Teach my brother how to play ball.
Whatever you do, don't talk to my dad.

Keep all the bad love poems
I wrote for you.
Use them to woo your future wife.
Name your daughter after me.

--- Carol Chou

§     §     §

Cremation
He came back
in a perfectly sealed, tan rectangle,
which my mother promptly placed
under the kitchen sink.
There was talk of an urn,
a cool blue,
perhaps in the shape of a dog.
But no one would open the plastic container
to see what was rattling inside
(was it his teeth or what?),
and no one wanted to breathe death
in willingly through the nose
when it is already camped out
on the pullout couch.
So he is under the kitchen sink,
beside the bleach and the 409.
Sometimes I forget
and think he's the toolbox ---
this dog who kept us up at night
with his sweet singing.
--- Pia Aliperti
From When We Were Countries
Poems and Stories by
Outstanding High School Writers
Mark Pawlak et al, Editors
© 2010 Hanging Loose Press
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