Willing and Still Able

words and photography by jill desmarais

Any Time of Day

I’m suddenly melting into sleep.
In the morning the highway is
Soaked with my tears from last night.

I stumble into the bathroom.
I’m in the limelight again, wanting to be a
Girl who is unrepeatable.

In the afternoon my slushie is liquid by the
Time I reach the canyon.
I scream into the distance; my voice echoes
Against those boulders and curves and slopes.

In the evening I try to fill the void in between
My eyes again, as if in a past life I wasn’t so
Mistakable.

I’m as sudden as a switchblade.
I want everything that isn’t mine,
I need everything back that I
Shoved to a darker place.

At midnight I look for a lifeline.
I melt into the mattress like butter
And I call all of the shots.

An Ode to Summer

Will you think of me next summer?
The sun clings onto me like a piggyback
Ride and I do a keg stand in a dress so
Everyone knows it is Sunday.

I get the hiccups more often than not
And the air is sticky and knowing and
Fierce; blood is thumping in my calves.

Sweat sprints to my ankles but isn’t it so
Sweet? I hold so much power in
Being underestimated that it isn’t heart-
Wrenching anymore.
I am the underdog, I can finally see past
The horizon.

I throw my peach pits out onto the cul-de-sac
But no one seems to mind.
I can’t perfect my dive but no one seems to mind.
I cry a rainstorm but no one seems to mind.

I’m too carefree for my own good.
Tanlines are my new and cherished friends,
But what will I have when this ends?

Patchouli

Some scents make me cry,
Like patchouli in Riverside;
A neighbourhood in my
Hometown so compounded.

It seemed inevitable that I
Would return from the darkness,
It seemed unlikely that my
Guardian angel would follow
Me to a strip club.

Sunset screamed and I realized
My birthday was only two days
Away.
I would celebrate with an arm
Stretching to the horizon.
I would tell an ex-lover that I was
Fine on my own, that I was fine
With my solitude.

Tell the ghosts I’m here.
The onlookers are plotting my
Murder.
The headlines would yell that I was
Too young.
The joke is on them: I can still smell
Rain and fourteen degrees.

Don’t you know you can’t befriend
An empath?
I’ll climb the farthest mountain and
Shout your name when I reach the top.

I’m trying to catch bunches of pollen
From God before the skyline doesn’t
Want me anymore.
My friends smash my face into my
Birthday cake.
I’ll be nineteen years old.
I’ll be a woman soon.

About My Heart

I’m trying not to get swallowed up
In taxes and employment and marriage
And politics.
Instead I’m thinking of all the times where
Writing has saved me, all the times where
I felt like I had superpowers that would
Guide me to my destiny.

I can’t help but betray myself when I feel
So heavy, like my heart is sinking into
The mattress.
Sometimes when I’m having trouble sleeping,
I pretend that it’s my whole body sinking through
It; as if I was being transported to another world.

It is my household rule that one must empty their
Heart onto their plate before eating supper.
Not in a gory way, but in a way where I won’t die
Waiting to get to know them.

Having a big heart gets me in trouble all of the time.
I’m an empath that didn’t leave her heart in the milky way
Like everyone else.

jill desmarais (she/her)

My name is Jill, I’m nineteen years old and I’m a creative writer! I’ve been writing for my whole life but became more serious about my craft and art when my mental health started to plummet and I needed an outlet to help me cope. My main genres of focus are poetry, prose, and essays/nonfiction. I write because it gives me the chance to explore my thoughts in a poetic and honest way!