I am a smart girl

︎︎︎ Sarah Yanni

︎ AUG 9, 2022

with practice, the story
is more clear

infinitely more precise
so many times

I’ve told it
at first, meandering pockets

of details I didn’t know
how to empty

but now
my edits are sharp

I get straight to the point because really––
it’s simple: what happened was

I folded myself neatly like
paper stacked

into a clean pile and one day the wind
was too strong

it blew me eastbound, tore
the sheets in half but

they landed, softly, on green
still––how could I have been

so encumbered
we are told that joy is foolish

pain as the condition
of intelligence so I thought myself

the smartest
of all girls

there’s a thing in my stomach about this
I wish a lot of things

like for everyone
to think I am good

I used to be
a lot of things, too

and now I am good at building beds
taking the trash to the dumpster

before it’s filled
remembering to turn

lights out
when I leave, locking top

and bottom, putting the duvet
cover on

dabbing cool white cream
beneath my eyes

and not looking
in the mirror, instead merely trusting that

beauty is there, finding home
in my cheeks

Sarah Yanni
is a writer, editor, and educator in Los Angeles. She is Managing Editor of TQR and has been recognized as a Finalist for the 2022 Andres Montoya Poetry Prize, Poetry Online's 2021 Launch Prize, BOMB Magazine's 2020 Poetry Contest, and the Hayden's Ferry Review Inaugural Poetry Contest. She's online @sssaritahh / sarahsophiayanni.com.