Yellow Sweater

United States

Zinnia | she/her | bi | agnostic | 17 | WA

2021-2022 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate

Elitist Atlantic Subscriber (jk, but I do think the Atlantic does some awsome journalism)

I don't necessarily agree with my own assertions

Message to Readers

I created these characters, but I have no idea what to do with them. Any story ideas?!!!

Narcissus Boy (continued)

February 8, 2021


He hated himself. He was a wiry creature of self loathing, of hollow cheeks, arched feet, sharp fingernails, pouty lips and thick breath. He would smile, but even that curve was made from the same hot wire. He had taken sand-paper to his skin, rubbing until his soul was scarred and raw. 

We all experience heartburn, moments when our bodies are revealed to us with blinding clarity. But I have never meant anyone who could endure beauty like he could, who could withstand the dull ache. He was nothing but a model for hungry pencils: lines and sinew and thirds. When we lay together, I could trace his shape and his contours would linger, occupying space, but not consuming it.

It was early spring when I found him on a park bench, gazing at his reflection in the muddy pond. I liked his shape, his Narcissus facade. He had a book in his lap, small, with thick dog-eared pages. Beat Poetry? French Existentialism? I guessed. I crept a little closer, squinting as I tried to make out the title. Howl. I smiled, a holy narcissus boy. I watched him for a while, caught on the sand-paper sidewalk. It was hard to tell in the watery late afternoon light, but I think I fell a little bit in love with the idea of him, with his reflection.  

A swan glided by, a park swan. The boy stretched his neck; eyes to the sky, eyes to his book. I had gotten a fringe the week before. It was the required uniform of coffee-shop lackeys, but it always seemed to tickle my forehead when I was trying to concentrate. It’s hard being a woman, having to reconcile cold-marble expectations with your own breath. I wished I could be like him. A creature of sky and books and reflections, a single hot wire, a conduit.  

Loving him was nothing like loving myself, nothing like I expected it to be. He was feminine in many ways, delicate, burning. I expected to own him. But he owned himself. He had distilled his soul into a body. 

We rode city buses, trespassed through secret gardens, got drunk in underground jazz bars, pressed ourselves against brick walls. I was finishing up a thesis on something. He was modeling, I think. We were a fashionable couple, straight out of the 60s, selling our bodies, revolting against... revolting against the lines between blasphemy and prayer, between blood and bones, between love and hatred; becoming lines ourselves.  


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  • ulymoly

    From the first paragraph alone, I can say with full confidence that your writing reminds me of Madeline Miller’s. Excellent work!

    6 months ago
  • MostlyBananas

    Re the third: Sure, that'd be fine. How do we get in touch? I think we need a slightly more effective way of communicating if we're going to collab

    6 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    Zirong phrased it best: it took my breath away. my heart is pounding so hard right now!! woahhh...... <3

    6 months ago
  • elliem

    Your writing style is so beautiful! Your words effectively sketch out these characters, and I love how well you craft their flaws and needs, because it makes them seem so realistic. This is excellent. :)

    6 months ago
  • MostlyBananas

    Re your re: Don't worry; have you ever thought of collaborating with someone?

    6 months ago
  • psithurism

    re: Aww thanks! :)

    6 months ago
  • MostlyBananas

    These words echo volumes to me; this is how to write a character.

    6 months ago
  • beth r.

    "I wished I could be like him. A creature of sky and books and reflections, a single hot wire, a conduit. "
    gorgeous diction! love this character
    re: omg thank you so much :)

    6 months ago
  • remi'sgotinkstains

    wow, I love the line "becoming lines ourselves"
    i hope you write a story with narcissus!

    6 months ago
  • Minvra

    Re: No problem. I look forward to see whatever story you can cook up and what you have to say in the story.

    6 months ago
  • Minvra

    If you do end up making a story for this Narcissus guy, can you let me know?

    6 months ago
  • Minvra

    What if, like when King Midas met a god, Narcissus met one as well. Where bring brings his reflection to life which talks. What he desires or to feed his darkest thoughts. Who's one of the twisted deities? Nemesis?

    6 months ago
  • Parisienne

    WOW! I really like this, your characters are so vivid!! :)

    6 months ago
  • Zirong

    this really. really. really. took my breath away.

    6 months ago