2019 Poetry Ourselves: Maggie Odom

Poetry Ourselves is an additional competition for original student work for the 2019 National Finals. Each 2019 state champion had the opportunity to submit one original work of either written or spoken poetry. Maggie Odom, the 2019 Hawaii State Champion, was the 2019 Poetry Ourselves written poetry runner-up for her poem "kiss through osmosis."

kiss through osmosis

(or, how to direct a stage kiss for the first time when you yourself have not kissed anyone in your
life and you yourself are a gangly high school theatre geek utterly overwhelmed by the idea of
true love)

enter two young girls, give or take
            a few sweet summers.
step one           the shaking. tender tremors, let’s talk through this shall we?
set the scene
center stage
with     sticky sweat and crushed up coke cans like cherry lipstick (we
are too young for lipstick,
too old for cherry pits
between our two front teeth, stick a tongue there         instead)

like step two the sound. (cue a thousand movie smooches / upon further consideration, cut this) i
watch her lilac
whisper “this
                                   is my first time”
             there are some things in this life that cannot be scripted

for example step three, exhale
the shakey idea that this
is reality (or, rain        on the chalky line between all that is you
                                                                         and all that is not you)
and unshield yourself
from the sight of innocence entering and exiting the body
                                               all in one breath

step [whatever we are on], there are things
you have never noticed, things
they never show         on a tv screen, like hand
position and head
position and leaning and
                                   leaning and i wonder, how

do you           breathe, and
more importantly, how
do you quantify          the success of a moment that is not truly yours to begin with,

and what
do you say when they are going and going and
                                                                       suddenly, there is the wonderful feeling
                                                                       that your          life
                                                          is an open                                mouth,

and the observation,
for the first time,
                                                                       that you have a future.